Check your dogs. Check your kids. Checks yourself. Ticks are back in Michigan.
The wave of warm weather that we’ve experienced all across the state throughout the last week may have seemed like nothing but an unusual blessing.
However, unseasonable weather can equate to negative impacts as well. Take for one the fact that severe storms are expected for much of the state this evening. On top of that, it appears the early thaw is being attributed to one more effect: an increase in ticks and, in turn, Lyme disease.
According to an article published in the Detroit Freep Press, Lyme disease is five-times more prevalent today than just two decades ago in Michigan. In 1998, only five counties had established blacklegged tick populations. By 2016, that number went up to 24 counties, with the highest concentrations along the Lake Michigan shores in both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas.
There are five common types of ticks in Michigan: the American dog tick, the lone state tick, the woodchuck tick, the brown dog tick, and the blacklegged tick. Although rare, most of these ticks can transmit diseases such as rocky mountain spotted fever. However, the blacklegged tick, which is on the rise, can carry Lyme disease.
If you find a tick, it is important to remove it from your skin as quickly as possible. Monitor the bitten area well. If the iconic bullseye rash begins forming or if you experience flu-like symptoms—or if the tick was attached for more than 24 hours—it is important to seek medical attention to prevent bacterial infections.
According to the CDC, “most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.” However, if left untreated it can have lasting and debilitating effects.
The CDC also notes preventative measures, which can include “using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat.”