Tick season starting early this year

April 23, 2012
Tick season starting early this year
Expert urges hikers, gardeners and others to know the signs of tick-borne diseases.

(HealthDay) -- Tick season has started earlier than normal due to the mild winter, which means hikers, gardeners and others who love the outdoors should take precautions to prevent becoming a meal for ticks, an expert says.

People also should keep alert for symptoms of tick-borne diseases.

In Minnesota, patients already are testing positive for tick-borne diseases such as , anaplasmosis and babesiosis -- a month or two earlier than normal for the state, said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, a and director of the Clinical Parasitology and Virology Laboratories at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Lyme disease and anaplasmosis both are caused by bacteria carried by ticks, while babesiosis is a parasite that infects .

But there are a number of things people can do to protect themselves from ticks.

"The first thing is just tick avoidance -- staying out of areas where ticks are going to be present: tall grasses, shrubs, ," Pritt said in a Mayo Clinic news release.

"Also use insect repellant, such as DEET," Pritt added. "You can also buy clothing that has been impregnated with , which is another type of insect repellant, and there are certain types of insect repellants for pets."

Some other tips:

  • Keep grass short in yards and don't go into overgrown areas.
  • Wear long clothing to prevent ticks from accessing your skin.
  • After spending time outdoors, thoroughly check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks.
  • Stay on trails when you hike. If you leave the path, wear long pants tucked into your socks.
  • If you find , remove them immediately. Pinch the tick near its mouth and pull it out slowly in a continuous motion. Don't twist the tick because doing so may leave mouth parts embedded in the skin.
Fever, headache and muscle pain can be signs of a tick-borne illness. A hallmark of Lyme disease is a bull's-eye-patterned rash. Even if you do not recall getting a tick bite but have been working outdoors or visited other tick habitats and develop such symptoms, make sure to mention this to your doctor, Pritt said.

Explore further: Mayo Clinic finds new bacterium causing tick-borne illness ehrlichiosis in Wisconsin and Minnesota

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about ticks.

Related Stories

Mayo Clinic finds new bacterium causing tick-borne illness ehrlichiosis in Wisconsin and Minnesota

August 4, 2011
A new tick-borne bacterium infecting humans with ehrlichiosis has been discovered in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It was identified as a new strain of bacteria through DNA testing conducted at Mayo Clinic. The findings appear ...

New tick-borne disease discovered

September 20, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Yale School of Public Health researchers in collaboration with Russian scientists have discovered a new tick-borne bacterium that might be causing disease in the United States and elsewhere. Their findings ...

Recommended for you

Four simple tests could help GPs spot pneumonia and reduce unnecessary antibiotics

November 23, 2017
Testing for fever, high pulse rate, crackly breath sounds, and low oxygen levels could be key to helping GPs distinguish pneumonia from less serious infections, according to a large study published in the European Respiratory ...

New approach to tracking how deadly 'superbugs' travel could slow their spread

November 22, 2017
Killer bacteria - ones that have out-evolved our best antibiotics—may not go away anytime soon. But a new approach to tracking their spread could eventually give us a fighting chance to keep their death toll down.

Research points to diagnostic test for top cause of liver transplant in kids

November 22, 2017
Biliary atresia is the most common cause of liver transplants for children in the United States. Now researchers report in Science Translational Medicine finding a strong biomarker candidate that could be used for earlier ...

Metabolites altered in chronic kidney disease

November 22, 2017
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1 in 7 people in the United States, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). These individuals have a very high risk of cardiovascular ...

Rainfall can indicate that mosquito-borne epidemics will occur weeks later

November 22, 2017
A new study demonstrates that outbreaks of mosquito-borne viruses Zika and Chikungunya generally occur about three weeks after heavy rainfall.Researchers also found that Chikungunya will predominate over Zika when both circulate ...

Alcohol consumption and metabolic factors act together to increase the risk of severe liver disease

November 22, 2017
A new study provides insights into the interaction between alcohol consumption and metabolic factors in predicting severe liver disease in the general population. The findings, which are published in Hepatology, indicate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.