Tips for Staying Safe as Lyme Disease Carrying Ticks Spread to Eastern Michigan: The beginning of summer marks the beginning of long days at the lake and even longer nights hanging around the campfire, but it also marks the beginning of the 2019 tick season Michigan. Ticks in Michigan are nothing new, but this particular season has experts worried, as the blacklegged/deer tick is making its way further east. What’s so threatening about the deer tick? It carries the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
According to Click on Detroit, the blacklegged tick is no stranger to Michigan. However, until recently, the deer tick has made its home in the western Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Now, the tick has been spotted as far east as Detroit. What’s more, in 2017, there were more than 300 cases of Lyme disease in humans; two-thirds of victims claim to have been exposed to the disease in Michigan.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease: Have You Been Exposed?
Unfortunately, ticks are stealthy, which means that most people are unaware that they’ve even been bitten. This is often the case even if a tick stays attached for one to two days, which is about how long they need to transmit bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a tick and are unsure about how long it was attached, remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, which often mimic those of the flu. Below are two lists: one detailing the early signs of Lyme disease and one detailing the symptoms that indicate the disease has progressed.
Early Signs of Lyme Disease
- Fever, headache, muscle aches, chills and swollen lymph glands
- Erythema migrans rash
- EM occurs in approximately 70-80% of cases
- Begins within three to 30 days and at the location of the tick bite, but may eventually extend to other parts of the body
- Gets bigger over time
- May be warm to the touch
- Occasionally looks like a bulls-eye, but not always
Signs Lyme Disease Has Progressed
- Sore neck and severe headaches
- EM rashes across other areas of the body
- Joint swelling and pain
- Loss of muscle control in the face
- Pain and tenderness in joints, muscles and bones
- Abnormal heart rate
- Shortness of breath and dizziness
- Short-term member problems
- Shooting pain, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
If left untreated, the disease has the potential to spread to the heart, joints and nervous system, systematically shutting down the body’s system. However, the good news is that the majority of early cases are treatable with antibiotics.
Minimizing Your Risk of Lyme Disease
The goal if this article is not to scare you but rather, to inform you. You can protect yourself, your loved ones and your pets from ticks and the diseases they carry with a bit of forethought and preventative measures.
First and foremost, avoid tick-infested areas. This includes tall grasses, overgrown brush and woodpiles. Do not let your pets into these areas either, as animals that come into contact with ticks outdoors often bring them inside.
When outdoors, use insect repellent. Strong formulas such as DEET 20-30% is often effective in keeping ticks and other undesirable insects at bay. Be sure to treat your clothes as well, as ticks have been known to hang out in fabrics until opportune times.
You should also always perform daily tick checks. Feel through your hair, under your armpits, behind your knees and other places a tick might hide. Bathing or showering after being outdoors can help you more easily locate attached ticks. If you find a tick, carefully remove it with a pair of tweezers and cleanse the area with an antiseptic.
Call in the Professionals
One of the best ways to keep ticks at bay during the 2019 tick season in Michigan is to allow Safari Tree to spray your yard. Contact Safari Tree to learn more about our pest control services.