Ways to ward off ticks this summer
HANCOCK — The weather is warming up, which means all manner of tiny creatures are showing themselves, and that includes ticks.
Terry Frankovich, medical director for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, said the health department hasn’t received a significantly large volume of calls about tick bites yet.
“We track tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme,” she said. “Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease we see in the U.P.”
There were 60 cases of Lyme disease in the U.P. last year, Frankovich said.
Taking precautions against tick bites is the best way to prevent the illnesses, which can be caused by them. Covering exposed skin before going into wooded or grassy areas will keep ticks off a person’s body. Checking the entire body after being in areas where ticks are located to remove any which may have attached themselves should be done as soon as possible.
“You can be treated with an antibiotic (in the first month after a bite),” she said.
Frankovich said Lyme disease can be treated, especially if it’s caught in the early stages. There are a wide variety of symptoms, including a “bullseye” rash, fever, and joint pain.
Frankovich said other diseases borne by ticks include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and anaplasmosis.
Getting treatment for a tick bite to avoid Lyme disease should be done as quickly as possible to avoid serious consequences, Frankovich said.
“It’s not typically fatal,” she said. “The important thing is awareness.”
Those who walk through wooded or grassy areas where ticks live should inspect their bodies from head to toe when finished, Frankovich said, and quickly remove any ticks found.
“The deer ticks are tiny,” she said. “They get bigger as they’re feeding and engorged with blood.”
Deer ticks are also called black-legged ticks.