June Expected to be the Worst Month for Ticks

By KBJR News 1

June 14, 2013 Updated Jun 14, 2013 at 8:30 AM CDT

Twin Ports (NNCNOW.com) --- The Minnesota Health Department says this is looking to be a very bad summer for ticks and June is expected to be the worst month.

There are five tick born infections that health experts worry about, the most common of which is Lyme disease.

Northlander Kyle Smalley has dealt with this first hand.

"I almost died of Lyme Disease. I was to a crawl. It eats you from the inside out," says Smalley.

The Northland has been plagued by ticks for many years.

The late snowfall delayed the peak of tick season but it has now come on in force.

Dr. Kevin Stephan, Infectious disease specialist at Essentia Health in Duluth, expects to see a significant increase in tick–borne illnesses this summer.

"If you find one that has been attached and imbedded for awhile you want to be careful when you remove it. You want to take it off with a sharp tweezers right near the skin," says Stephan.

For those whose bites go unnoticed, their symptoms may come as a surprise.

"It was the first week of summer vacation and I'm up here working and not feeling too well and my wife says I was the sickest I have ever been," says Ehrlichiosis survivor Joe Rapacz.

Brian Becker, Environmental Health Specialist says to avoid going through tall leafy grass or areas with a large amount of leaf litter.

"Typically what a tick is doing in the wild is their going to climb to the top of like a blade of grass, something like that, and they'll do what's called questing. So they are kind of searching for something that's out," says Becker.

Becker also says that other prevention mechanisms include wearing long sleeves and pants, tucking your pants into your socks, wearing a deep based insect repellant, and showering directly after being outside.

And because ticks commonly enter our homes on our pets, you should also take steps to protect them from ticks too, by using flea and tick collars.

Tick–borne disease symptoms generally appear from three to ten days after a tick bites.

Signs can range from the classic bulls–eye rash at the site of the bite to fever, flu– like symptoms, fatigue, headaches, stiff muscles, or sore joints.

Elsa Robins