According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS):
- Michigan’s five most common ticks are the American dog tick, Blacklegged tick, Lone star tick, Woodchuck tick, Brown dog tick.
- Ticks are closely related to insects and spiders, and there are over 20 known tick species in Michigan.
- The bacterium Borrelia burgdorfericauses Lyme disease. The bacterium can be transmitted by the Blacklegged tick, if infected.
Taking Precautions to Avoid Ticks and Tick-borne Disease
Help protect yourself and your loved ones from tick-borne diseases by doing the following:
- Avoid tick-infested areas
- Because ticks live in grassy, brushy wooded areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges.
- Be extra vigilant in warmer months (April – September) when ticks are most active. However, ticks can be active anytime the temperature outside is warmer than 40° F.
- Dogs and cats can encounter ticks outdoors and bring them into the home. Talk with your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your pet.
- Use insect repellent
- Apply repellent containing 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 permethrin directly on skin.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying repellents.
- Perform daily tick checks
- Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to see.
- 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, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick.
- 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.
- Wash clothing in hot water and dry on high heat to help kill ticks in clothing.
If you do find a tick attached, be sure to remove it right away. Continue to monitor yourself or your loved ones for symptoms such as:
- Joint aches