As the weather is warming up, ticks are coming out. In Wisconsin, infected ticks can carry bacteria causing illnesses.
Tick-borne illnesses including Lyme disease can lead to lifelong complications. Recognizing and treating tick-borne diseases early is important. Signs and symptoms of a tick-borne illness may include rash (bullseye rash), fever, chills, sweats, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Follow these steps to reduce your risk of a tick borne illness:
• Use an insect repellent and follow the label instructions for application.
• Wear light-colored protective clothing when outside.
• Tuck your pants into your socks when spending time in wooded or grassy areas.
• Wear clothing treated with permethrin.
• Shower as soon as possible after spending time outdoors.
• Check for ticks daily. Ticks can hide under the armpits, behind the knees, in the hair, and in the groin.
• Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed.
If you find a tick:
• Remove the tick as soon as possible to reduce your chances of getting an infection.
• Use a fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
• Pull upward with steady, even pressure to remove the tick. Avoid twisting or jerking.
• Clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
• Don’t use nail polish, petroleum jelly, or a hot match to make the tick detach.
• If tick mouthparts remain in the skin, leave them alone. In most cases, they will fall out in a few days.
For more information, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tickborne/lyme/index.htm.