With tick activity continuing to increase in Michigan, residents should know how to avoid ticks and tick-borne illness, according to an Ionia County Health Department news release.
Common tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, anaplasmosis, ehrlichosis, and babesiosis. The best way to avoid ticks and prevent tick-borne disease is to do the following:
1) If possible, avoid shady, moist areas with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter. If working or recreating in areas known to have ticks, try to stay in well-groomed areas such as lawns and trails.
2) Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave so that ticks can be spotted easily.
3) If conditions permit, wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck in your shirt and tuck your pants into your shoes or socks.
4) Check clothes and exposed skin frequently for ticks. Perform “tick checks” after being outdoors, even in your own yard.
5) Use EPA-approved repellents such as those containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Always read and follow the directions on the label, especially when applying repellant to children.
6) Create a “tick-free” zone around your home by keeping your grass mowed and eliminating brush and wood piles, etc. Keep play and recreation areas away from woodland edges and place them on wood chips or mulch instead of grass.
If a tick does bite, remove it as soon as possible. Seek prompt medical attention if illness occurs after a tick bite. For more information on tick hot spots, tick removal, tick identification and testing, creating “tick-free” zones, and symptoms of tick-borne illness, visit www.michigan.gov/lymedisease and http://www.cdc.gov/Features/StopTicks/