ST. PAUL, Minn. - With Memorial Day weekend coming up, many of us will head outside where we could encounter ticks.
Black legged ticks, more commonly known as deer ticks, can cause Lyme disease.
So with an early spring, how bad are they?
Dave Neitzel, epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health, is an expert on ticks. He said at this point it is tough to know if there are more this year. But he said they did come out earlier with the early spring. Chilly weather kept them down for a while but he said they love the warm and humid weather and we could get that this weekend.
Deer ticks, much smaller than wood ticks, live in decaying leaves and underbrush on the forest floor.
Neitzel said in Minnesota they carry five diseases, most notably, Lyme Disease.
He said there have already been some reported cases of newly acquired Lyme disease but whether the numbers are above average is too early to tell.
Neitzel explained the symptoms of Lyme disease, saying, "If you have this big expanding rash that keeps getting bigger, have that checked out because it could be Lyme disease. Other than that look for an illness with headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, fatigue, anything like that, within a month after being out in the woods, you will want to get it checked out by your physician."
Not everyone will get a rash.
Neitzel said check for ticks and remove them with a tweezers, including their long mouth parts, as soon as you see them because the longer they are on you the more likely they are to transmit disease.
Neitzel recommends a tick repellant with up to 30% DEET applied to your skin.
He also recommends Permethryn sprayed on clothing as very effective at repelling ticks.
Then tuck your pants into your socks and wear light colored clothing and check for ticks often.
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