Beware of Ticks!
Spending time outdoors is a wonderful way to bond with family and friends, and enjoy nature. Before you head out into the great outdoors, you need to be aware of a danger lurking not so deep in the woods — Lyme disease. This bacterial infection is contracted after coming in contact with a deer tick that has feasted off another infected animal. After a deer tick bites and attaches itself to your skin, the infected bacteria can transfer into your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.
It is important that you check yourself, your family and your pets for ticks due to the fact that these bugs can be brought into the house and cause an infestation. Removal of bugs such as ticks, bees, etc. may not be covered by your Michigan home insurance, so it’s important that you ALWAYS check your clothing, hair, etc. before re-entering your home.
Stages of Lyme Disease
- Early Localized Lyme Disease: A rash develops on the skin at the site of the bite within one to 31 days. It resembles a bull’s-eye and slowly expands followed by flu-like symptoms.
- Early Disseminated Lyme Disease: Skin, joint, nervous system and heart complications occur.
- Late Persistent Lyme Disease: Infected person develops severe joint, nervous system and heart complications.
Since Lyme disease symptoms mirror many other illnesses, it is important that you and your family take action to prevent coming in contact with a deer tick while outdoors.
Michigan insurance carriers strongly advise preventing “pests” from entering the home, but it is also strongly advised to prevent pests from entering you. Your health is just as important. Here are some tips to protect yourself from ticks:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when in wooded areas and tuck your pant legs into socks or boots for added protection.
- Wear light-colored clothing to make identifying ticks easier.
- Spray yourself with insect repellent that contains the chemical DEET.
- Walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging trees or bushes.
- Wash your body and clothing and inspect your body for ticks if you have been in bushy areas or worked in a garden. Inspect your dog’s coat too if he/she has been playing in a tick-infested wooded areas.
- Avoid sitting directly on the ground.
- Keep long hair tied back so that ticks cannot climb up your hair and attach themselves to your scalp.
Bacteria from a tick bite do not transmit into your bloodstream for 36 to 48 hours, which lessens your chance of contracting the disease if you find ticks and remove them immediately. To remove a tick from your skin:
- Use a tweezers to grab the tick firmly where it has entered the skin. Be careful not to squeeze its body, as it could cause bacteria to inject into your skin.
- Slowly, yet firmly, pull the tick directly outward. Do not try to twist it out because that could break the tick in half and leave the remainder in your skin.
- Once the tick is removed, clean the bite thoroughly with a disinfectant and watch the area for any symptoms.
Contact your Michigan insurance agent for more ways to prevent yourself and your home from ticks.