PONTIAC, MI – As Michigan residents spend more time outdoors, Oakland County officials have given tips to help prevent ticks.
Lyme disease is a disease that results from a bacterial infection caused by tick bites, according to a press release released by Oakland County on May 25.
In 2017, more than 300 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDDHS). The symptoms include fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, dizziness and bull's-eye rash. Early treatment can lead to a full recovery, according to health authorities.
"Residents are urged to protect themselves against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases by avoiding tick bites." said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for the Oakland County Health Division. "If you find a tick on your body, remove it quickly, watch for symptoms, and consult a doctor if you have symptoms."
According to Oakland County officials, the risk of Lyme disease can be reduced by:
- wearing long-sleeved shirts; bright, long pants; and shoes with closed toes.
- T-shirts in pants and trousers stuck in socks.
- Apply DEET (20-30%) or picaridin-containing insect repellent to the exposed skin and clothing.
- Apply permethrin to clothing and shoes (do not apply permethrin to the skin).
- Avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush and foliage.
- Protect your pets as they can come in contact with ticks and carry them to your home.
Residents are advised to check their entire bodies immediately after leaving outside areas that are likely to have ticks, the press release said. A hot shower is recommended as soon as possible. Children should be assisted in checking their bodies for ticks.
Oakland County authorities recommend the following if a tick is found on the skin:
- Use tweezers to hold the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Carefully but firmly, but do not press on the tick body.
- Try to pull out the tick without leaving any mouth parts in the skin.
- After removing the tick, wash hands and bite the area thoroughly with soap and running water.
- Apply an antibacterial cream to the bite site.
Michigan residents can provide Michigan State Department of Health and Services (MDHHS) with free ticks for identification and possible Lyme disease testing, the press release said. Electronic photos of ticks can be sent to the MDHHS for identification at [email protected]
Learn more about sending ticks and photos online at Michigan.gov/lyme.
For more information on Lyme Disease, visit the Oakland County Health Division website or the Public Health Oakland Facebook page and Twitter .
A nurse on call in Oakland County is available from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Monday through Friday at 800-848-5533 or at [email protected]