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Madison, it’s time to talk ticks

It’s Lyme Disease Awareness Month and ticks are out early this year.

A closeup of a tick on someone's hand.jpeg

Tick bites may lead to lyme disease so be careful when you’re outside. | Photo via Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin’s got its fair share of creepy crawlies this year. The cicada super brood is about to emerge, spongy moths are back and, due to our warm winter, tick season is already here. Typically, they become active in late spring, through summer and into fall.

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to revisit ways to avoid tick bites with some recommendations from the Wisconsin DNR.

Fight the Bite

Take preventative measures when outside:

  • Use insect repellent on skin and clothing
  • Wear appropriate clothing (long sleeve shirts and pants)

Check for ticks when you return inside:

  • Make sure there are no ticks on you or your clothes
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Put clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes

Make your outdoor space less inviting to ticks:

  • Clear brush and leaf litter from your yard
  • Mow your lawn often
  • Keep wood piles far from the house

Check your pets:
Animal fur can act as a “tick magnet,” raising exposure to not only your pets, but family members.

A deer tick sits on a blade of grass.jpeg

Ticks are small crawling bugs in the spider family. They are actually arachnids, not insects. | Photo via Wisconsin DNR

Know the symptoms of Lyme disease

Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and usually develop within a month of getting bit:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Nauseau
  • Some people also experience a bullseye-like rash

What to do:

Lyme disease can be treated with antiobiotics, so if you suspect you may have it, contact your healthcare provider.

Learn more about ticks from UW-Madison’s Insect Disease Laboratory. Also, a pro tip: There’s a tick app that tracks local tick sightings, reports ticks, and offers prevention information.

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