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Tick season arrives earlier than expected in Michigan

illustration showing what deer ticks look like at various life stages compared to a dime
Michigan State University
Blacklegged or deer ticks can carry Lyme disease.

Tick season has already arrived in Michigan. Longer days, warmer temperatures and rising humidity levels create the perfect storm for the parasitic arachnids.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says ticks can usually be found in wooded, bushy and grassy areas.

“You want to avoid contact with ticks, if you can .... knowing where to expect ticks and avoiding the areas, walking in the center of trails, treat your clothing and gear with permethrin," Vail added.

Permethrin is an insecticide that repels and kills mosquitoes and ticks. It's usually available at most grocery stores.

Vail says not all ticks cause Lyme disease, but Michiganders should especially look out for blacklegged or deer ticks.

"Not every tick is going to carry Lyme disease, so it's important not to panic. A tick really has to be attached for 36 to 48 hours in order to transmit disease," she explained.

Vail recommends checking hair, armpits and extremities for them after spending time outdoors.

"When you come indoors, if you have to be in those areas, wearing long sleeved long pants, clothing is going to help some but then you want to check clothing gear and pets for ticks," she said. "Go ahead and shower, check your body under the arms, back of the knees, around the hair, around your waist."

Vail says if you find a tick that’s been on your body for longer than 2 days, you should reach out to your healthcare provider.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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