Tick Season Starting Early This Year04/22/12
SUNDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Tick season has started
earlier than normal due to the mild winter, which means hikers,
gardeners and others who love the outdoors should take precautions
to prevent becoming a meal for ticks, an expert says.
People also should keep alert for symptoms of tick-borne
In Minnesota, patients already are testing positive for
tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and
babesiosis -- a month or two earlier than normal for the state,
said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, a microbiologist and director of the Clinical
Parasitology and Virology Laboratories at the Mayo Clinic in
Lyme disease and anaplasmosis both are caused by bacteria
carried by ticks, while babesiosis is a parasite that infects red
But there are a number of things people can do to protect
themselves from ticks.
"The first thing is just tick avoidance -- staying out of areas where ticks are going to be present: tall grasses, shrubs, leaf litter," Pritt said in a Mayo Clinic news release.
"Also use insect repellant, such as DEET," Pritt added. "You can also buy clothing that has been impregnated with pyrethroids, which is another type of insect repellant, and there are certain types of insect repellants for pets."
Some other tips:
- Keep grass short in yards and don't go into overgrown
- Wear long clothing to prevent ticks from accessing your
- After spending time outdoors, thoroughly check yourself, your
children and your pets for ticks.
- Stay on trails when you hike. If you leave the path, wear long
pants tucked into your socks.
- If you find ticks, remove them immediately. Pinch the tick near
its mouth and pull it out slowly in a continuous motion. Don't
twist the tick because doing so may leave mouth parts embedded in
Fever, headache and muscle pain can be signs of a tick-borne
illness. A hallmark of Lyme disease is a bull's-eye-patterned rash.
Even if you do not recall getting a tick bite but have been working
outdoors or visited other tick habitats and develop such symptoms,
make sure to mention this to your doctor, Pritt said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
Copyright © 2012
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.