Spring time is here, and with it comes warnings about Lyme disease.
Warmer weather means more people will be spending time outside, and State Health Officer Dr. Seth Foldy says it also means an increased risk of tick bites.
Of particular concern are deer ticks, which can spread Lyme disease. While Foldy says it’s usually not fatal, the illness can cause arthritis-like symptoms, along with heart and nervous system problems. About 2,500 cases of the disease were reported in Wisconsin last year.
Avoiding tick bites requires some simple precautions. Foldy suggests wearing pants and long sleeves if you’ll be spending time in wooded areas or around tall grass. You can also repel ticks by with products containing DEET. He also suggests checking yourself, your children, and any pets over carefully when you get back in doors.
The deer tick is very small, about the size of a poppy seed. So, Foldy says it’s important to look carefully and you’ll get the best results with a bright light helping in the search.
If you find a tick, Foldy says the only one effective way to remove it is to use a pair of tweezers pressed up closely against the skin. He says you should be careful to grab the tick by the head so you don’t accidentally leave it behind when you remove the rest of the body.
If you suspect you’ve been infected or develop a bulls-eye shaped rash, contact a doctor. Lyme disease is typically treatable with antibiotics.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:05)