Lyme Disease Awareness Month: The great tick off!

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The vast Minnesota wilderness is one of the reasons so many choose this state as their home. Living in Minnesota is like being one with nature. You can find a bounty of natural beauty just a short distance from your home. From lakes to wildlife, Minnesota has everything that makes our world special. However, nature also includes ticks and the bacteria they may or may not be carrying. May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and Tri-County Health Care wants you to enjoy the outdoors safely this summer.

What is Lyme disease?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by tick bites. Primarily, this disease is spread by blacklegged ticks, commonly referred to as deer or bear ticks.

In the spring and summer, ticks begin searching for their first blood meal, which usually consists of rodents. Ticks are commonly associated with forests, but they can easily find their way into residential neighborhoods on the backs of mice and even pets. Luckily a tick needs to be stuck to the skin for several hours to transmit disease. Diseases carried by ticks include:

  • Lyme disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Powassan virus disease
  • Borrelia miyamotoi disease
  • Borrelia mayonii disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Tularemia

By far, Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease. Experts are closely monitoring the spread of this disease and have noticed its frequency steadily increasing.

This video by Minnesota Lyme Disease Association puts the issue of Lyme Disease in Minnesota into perspective.

 

Lyme Disease Awareness Month is about learning the causes.

Symptoms and treatment

Symptoms usually appear within 30 days of the initial bite. One of the most common symptoms is a rash at the site of the bite. Sometimes it may appear to be a bulls-eye with a raised red sore in the middle and a circular patch of red skin around it. People may also experience chills, muscle pain, headaches, and fatigue.

If these symptoms appear, seek medical attention immediately. The chances of treating Lyme disease are better with early detection. After thorough examination and testing, treatment for Lyme disease includes antibiotics.

Prevention

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid ticks. Wear appropriate clothing that covers your body when exploring the outdoors. Also, make sure to use insect repellent. Additionally, when you return home, do a tick inspection. For example, use a mirror to examine your body for the tiny pests. If you discover one, remove it with tweezers. Submerging ticks in alcohol is a way to kill them.

Throughout Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Tri-County Health Care aims to make this summer safe for everyone. If you suspect you might have Lyme disease, please meet with your care provider as soon as possible. For scheduling, please call 218-631-3510.


“Tick”-tock: It’s time for ticks!

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Just when you thought this harsh winter would last forever, it seems like spring is finally here to stay. The sun is out, the birds are back, and the atmosphere is bright! But enjoying this beautiful tick insect warning sign in forest.weather unfortunately means we’ll also experience some not-so-glamorous parts of spring. That’s right. Ticks are back. They’re already out and about and ready to find their next meal … you or your pets.

Minnesota has about a dozen different types of ticks crawling around, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, but the most common are the American dog tick (aka wood tick), blacklegged tick (aka deer tick), and the lone star tick.

Adult ticks venture out just after the snow melts, which means – as you may have already noticed – they’re out in force right now. They’ll be the most active May through June. Activity tapers off after that until they catch a second wind and peak in activity during the fall. Once the temperature drops below freezing or snow begins falling, they begin to disappear. It’s a vicious cycle we Minnesotans are destined to repeat.

Here are some other interesting facts to consider as you figure out how to deal with these pests:

  1. Ticks cannot jump or fly. Their best method for getting onto you is climbing onto a leaf or blade of grass, hanging on with their back legs, and reaching out with their front legs. Then they wait. When a person or an animal brushes by, they quickly grab on and climb aboard. Sometimes they’ll start feeding right away, but other times, they’ll wander around to find the best spot for dinner.

 

  1. Ticks are incredibly good at knowing when you’re close by. Sometimes, all it takes is your shadow to alert a tick to your presence. They can also detect potential hosts from your breath, body odor, body heat, vibrations and moisture.Danger of tick bite. Shows close-up mite in the hand

 

  1. To add another level to the “ick” factor, at least for those who have arachnophobia, ticks are actually arachnids, not insects. They are closely related to spiders and scorpions. This is evident by their eight legs and absence of antennae.

 

  1. Ticks are not born carrying diseases. They obtain them by feeding on a host that has the disease and can then pass it to an unaffected individual. However, the good news is they can only transmit the disease after several hours of feeding. That means if you take proper precautions when spending time outside, you can find and kill the tick before it can spread the disease. (Here’s what the CDC recommends for preventing tick bites.)

 

  1. Different types of ticks can spread different diseases. In fact, many of the tick species in Minnesota do not spread diseases. The ones that do include deer ticks spreading Lyme disease and wood ticks spreading Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

 

  1. If you do find a tick that has attached to your skin, don’t panic. Simply remove the tick as soon as you can. Tweezers are one of the most effective tools for this job.ticks (Ixodes scapularis) found in nature. No studio shot. Originally on leaf. He has sensed the warmth of my hand and stretched the first legs to find the source.

  • Grab the tick with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible.
  • Pull upward firmly and evenly rather than yanking or twisting, which can break the tick’s mouth and leave parts behind in your skin.
  • Once the tick is removed, wash your hands and the bite area.
  • Kill the tick by wrapping it in tape, flushing it down the toilet or placing it in alcohol.

It’s important to note that if a rash or fever develop within a few weeks of removing a tick, you should visit your provider.

 

For more information on ticks, visit the CDC or the MDH.