GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – When it comes to ticks, Minnesota has got it bad.
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Minnesota is at the epicenter of tick-related illness. In fact, Minnesota had the seventh-highest tally in the country with 26,886 confirmed cases of tick-borne infections between 2004 and 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lyme disease is a serious condition that can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the basics when it comes to detection and prevention of Lyme disease which has been known to destroy a person’s quality of life because of crippling symptoms like chronic headaches, flu-like symptoms, joint pain and more.
Here are a few other important facts about Lyme disease in Minnesota:
- Primarily risks are from mid-May through mid-July when the smaller nymph stage of the deer tick is feeding. Risk is present, but lower, in early spring and again in the fall (late September-October) when the adult stage of the deer tick is active.
- Lyme disease is spread by black-legged ticks, otherwise known as deer ticks or bear ticks that are infected with the Lyme disease bacteria.
- The infected tick must be attached for at least 24-48 hours to transmit the bacteria. The chances of getting Lyme disease increase the longer the tick is attached.
- Though a distinctive bulls-eye rash is a common sign of Lyme disease, not everyone infected will develop this rash.
- The signs of Lyme disease are different for everyone, but the most common complaint is “flu-like” symptoms.
- Other common symptoms of Lyme disease are headache, fever, chills, muscle and joint pain and fatigue. Months after the onset of the illness, symptoms can become serious and include: multiple rashes, paralysis on one side of the face, heart palpitations, arthritis and severe fatigue.
- Early diagnosis of Lyme disease can make all the difference by reducing the severity of the disease.
- Lyme disease is diagnosed through a physical examination and blood test.
- Blood tests may be negative within the first 2-3 weeks of illness. A blood test is not required for diagnosis of early Lyme disease when the characteristic rash is present. The blood test is an important part of diagnosis for patients who have been ill for more than one month.
- Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.
- Wear light-colored clothing and tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.
- Use bug spray with DEET.
- Always do a thorough tick check after being outside.
- Protect your pets! Use flea and tick preventative on your pets as they can carry ticks indoors and onto furniture and beds.
f you do find a tick on yourself, remove it promptly following these steps:
- If possible, use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick by the head.
- Grasp the tick close to the skin
- Pull the tick outward slowly, gently, and steadily
- Do not squeeze the tick
- Use an antiseptic on the bite.
Avoid folk remedies like Vaseline®, nail polish remover or burning matches. They are not a safe or effective way to remove ticks. Consult your doctor or head to the Urgency Room if you are having trouble removing the tick or if you are noticing any abnormal signs and symptoms after the bite.