Summertime tick update

Pitbull%2C+Violet%2C+taking+a+walk+around+Asylum+Lake+Preserve.+After+digging+around+the+bushes%2C+two+ticks+were+found+on+her+stomach+and+quickly+removed.

Photo by Gigi Fox

Pitbull Violet talking a walk around Asylum Lake Preserve. After digging around the bushes, two ticks were found on her stomach and quickly removed.

Gigi Fox, Opinion Editor

With the summer months quickly on the rise, so is the increase of bugs, especially ticks. While ticks may seem small and harmless, ticks carry many diseases, one example would be Lyme disease. Lyme disease can cause rashes and headaches when it first shows symptoms. With Michigan being surrounded by lakes, it puts the Midwest at a higher risk of a rise in the tick population.

“And because its [the Midwest] natural areas so strongly resemble those of the northeast in terms of climate, the Midwest is also a center for Lyme disease: apart from New England, the states around the Great Lakes see more cases of Lyme disease than any other region,” reported Pests.org.

Lyme disease is spread through tick bites. Not every tick is infected, but if you are bitten by an infected one, it could spread. People that spend more time outdoors or have pests are at greater risk of infection. 

At first, Lyme disease usually causes symptoms such as a rash, fever, headache, and fatigue. But if it is not treated early, the infection can spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system,” reported MedlinePlus.

There are ways to prevent tick bites, such as wearing long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outside. Animals are prime hosts for ticks because they are lower to the ground and are covered in fur, making it harder to detect them. Animals can carry ticks and bring them into the home and they get on furniture and people. Pets should get flea and tick medicine to kill the embedded tick. 

Most medicine won’t stop the tick from getting on the animal, but once the tick bites the skin, they die. The best way to kill a tick is to burn it or drop it in alcohol, flushing a tick will not kill it.

“Going for a walk or a hike? Stay in the middle of the paths, away from the high grass and brush that may be on the edges of your hiking trail. Avoid going into the tall grass and brush if you can,” reported John Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center.

When going outside, pets rely on their owners to check them thoroughly for ticks and other unwanted guests. If left untreated, ticks can cause irreversible damage that could have been prevented if only the proper precautions were taken. So, take the time to check over both yourself and your pets after time spent outside.