PONTIAC, MI – As Michigan residents spend more time outside during the summer months, Oakland County officials have offered tips to avoid ticks.
Lyme disease is an illness stemming from a bacterial infection through tick bites, according to a news release from Oakland County officials issued Friday, May 25.
There were more than 300 reported human cases of Lyme disease in Michigan in 2017, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDDHS). Symptoms include fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, dizziness and bulls-eye rash. Treatment early on can lead to complete recovery, according to health officials.
“Residents are urged to protect themselves against Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases by avoiding tick bites.” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for the Oakland County Health Division. “If you find a tick attached to your body, quickly remove it, watch for symptoms, and contact a medical provider if you experience symptoms.”
According to Oakland County officials, risk for Lyme disease can be reduced by:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts; light-colored, long pants; and closed-toed shoes.
- Tucking shirts into pants and pants into socks.
- Applying insect repellent containing DEET (20-30 percent) or Picaridin to exposed skin and to clothing.
- Applying permethrin to clothes and shoes (do not apply permethrin to skin).
- Avoiding contact with overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter.
- Protecting your pets as well, as they can come into contact with ticks and carry them into your home.
Residents are advised to check their entire bodies immediately after leaving outdoor areas that likely have ticks, the release states. A hot shower as soon as possible is also recommended. Children should be assisted in checking their bodies for ticks.
Oakland County officials recommend the following if a tick attached to one’s skin is discovered:
- Grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull gently but firmly, but do not squeeze the body of the tick.
- Try to pull the tick out without leaving mouth parts embedded in the skin.
- After removing the tick, wash hands and bite area thoroughly with soap and running water.
- Apply an antibacterial cream to the site of the bite.
Michigan residents can submit ticks for free to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) for identification and possible Lyme disease testing, according to the release. Electronic photos of ticks can be sent to the MDHHS for identification at MDDHHS-Bugs@michigangov.com.
More information on how to submit ticks and photos is available online at Michigan.gov/lyme.
A nurse on call in Oakland County is available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 800-848-5533 or at email@example.com.