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Small and Dangerous: Tick Season is on the Way

Fergus Falls Daily Journal - 5/3/2024

May 3—It's almost summertime and with that comes creepy crawly creatures that are so nice and can actually in cases cause a disease.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, "Deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks, are just one of thirteen known tick species in Minnesota and are potential carriers of Lyme disease, human anaplasmosis and babesiosis."

We've all heard of Lyme disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms can sometimes include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. The CDC also states that if left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.

The CDC says those infected with human anaplasmosis will often have fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches as the symptoms progress.

Although many people who are infected with Babesia feel fine and do not have symptoms, someone can develop flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue.

As you can clearly see, the diseases that can be transmitted by deer ticks have almost identical symptoms so it is pprudent to visit a health care center if you experience some or all of the symptoms if in doubt.

The DNR states that the best way to remove a tick is to use a pair of narrow tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then pull upward slowly and steadily. If the mouthpart remains in the skin, try to remove it. If you can't remove it in this fashion, it is probably best to have a healthcare provider to assist. Following successful removal, it is best to wash the site with soap and warm water to prevent infection.

Insect repellents that contain DEET or other EPA-approved repellent chemicals are also effective at repelling ticks. If you spend a lot of time in tick habitats, it may be worth treating a suit of clothes with permethrin, a repellent/insecticide that works on ticks.

The DNR mentions the highest risk of infection from Deer ticks is from mid-May through mid-July.

The University of Minnesota Extension has a fantastic website with identification factors and photos at extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/ticks.

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(c)2024 the Fergus Falls Daily Journal (Fergus Falls, Minn.)

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