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

Ambitious global virome project could mark end of pandemic era

February 23, 2018
Rather than wait for viruses like Ebola, SARS and Zika to become outbreaks that force the world to react, a new global initiative seeks to proactively identify, prepare for and stop viral threats before they become pandemics.

Forecasting antibiotic resistance with a 'weather map' of local data

February 23, 2018
The resistance that infectious microbes have to antibiotics makes it difficult for physicians to confidently select the right drug to treat an infection. And that resistance is dynamic: It changes from year to year and varies ...

Scientists gain new insight on how antibodies interact with widespread respiratory virus

February 22, 2018
Scientists have found and characterized the activity of four antibodies produced by the human immune system that target an important protein found in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), according to new research published ...

Study reveals how kidney disease happens

February 22, 2018
Monash researchers have solved a mystery, revealing how certain immune cells work together to instigate autoimmune kidney disease.

Past encounters with the flu shape vaccine response

February 20, 2018
New research on why the influenza vaccine was only modestly effective in recent years shows that immune history with the flu influences a person's response to the vaccine.

Building better tiny kidneys to test drugs and help people avoid dialysis

February 16, 2018
A free online kidney atlas built by USC researchers empowers stem cell scientists everywhere to generate more human-like tiny kidneys for testing new drugs and creating renal replacement therapies.

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.