Page 5 - Senior Times South Central Michigan June 2022 - 29-06
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Senior Times - June 2022
Page 5
By: Chelsea Wuth, MDHHS
  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is encouraging Michigan residents to take steps to avoid tick bites while enjoying the outdoors this summer. Tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, are increasing across the state.
Signs and symptoms typically begin one to two weeks after a tick bite or being in wooded or brushy areas where ticks commonly live. Protect yourself and your family against tick-borne dis- eases by following these tips:
 “Preventing tick bites is the best way to prevent tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease and anaplasmosis,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “If you find a tick attached to your body, prompt- ly remove it. Monitor your health and if you experience fever, rash, muscle or joint aches, or other symptoms, consult with your medical provider.”
Avoid tick-infested areas. As ticks live in grassy, brushy, and wooded areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Michigan. In 2021, there were 878 confirmed and probable reported cases of Lyme disease, nearly double the 451 cases reported in 2020.
Use insect repellent – Apply repellent con- taining DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin. Treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Do not use perme- thrin directly on skin. Always follow the manu- facturer’s instructions when applying repellents.
2. Blacklegged tick – Found on low forest vegetation, often along human and animal trails. Can lead to Lyme disease, which is the most common tick-borne disease in Michigan. Other rare diseases include: anaplasmosis, babesiosis, deer-tick virus, and ehrlichiosis.
Anaplasmosis is the second most common tick-borne disease in the state, and cases are also increasing. Reported cases of anaplasmosis in Michigan residents jumped from 17 confirmed and probable cases in 2020 to 56 in 2021.
Perform daily tick checks – Always check for ticks on yourself and your animals after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Inspect all body surfaces carefully and remove attached ticks with tweezers. To remove a tick, grasp the tick firm- ly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.
3. Lone star tick – Occasionally found in wooded and grassy areas across the state. An aggressive biter of humans and companion ani- mals, adult females have distinctive “Lone Star” mark. Diseases include Ehrlichiosis, rocky moun- tain spotted fever, and tularemia.
Health care providers need to consider tick- borne diseases in people presenting with fever and other non-specific symptoms during the warm months when ticks are active.
Bathe or shower – Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
Both Lyme disease and anaplasmosis are transmitted by the blacklegged or deer tick. The blacklegged tick is well-established in parts of Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas and has been found in new regions over the past few years. Information about Lyme disease risk by county is available at
Wash clothing in hot water and dry on high heat to help kill ticks in clothing.
Not all ticks spread the same germs. MDHHS can help to identify ticks you may encounter outdoors. Residents can email photos of ticks to for identification. Michiganders can also submit ticks to MDHHS for identification free of charge. Photographing the tick against a solid white (or light colored) background works best. Including a ruler or object with a standardized size like a coin can help us identify your tick. For more information on how to submit your tick and/or photos, visit Visit for additional information.
Protect your pets – Dogs and cats can come into contact with ticks outdoors and bring them into the home. Talk with your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your pet.
 Early symptoms of tick-borne disease can be non-specific and include fever or chills, rash, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Early treatment with appropriate antibiotics can decrease the risk of serious complications.
1. American dog tick – Widespread through- out Michigan forests and grassy areas. These ticks are active from early May-November, and will bite both humans and companion animals. Diseases associated with the American dog tick are rare in Michigan, but may include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.
Top three most common ticks in Michigan
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