Minneapolis, MN

The prevention and removal of the deer tick

Paula Carlsen

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Deer ticks, commonly referred to as black-legged ticks in Minnesota, are only 13 recognized tick species. The most abundant ones are in the eastern and central sections of the State and are found in forests of hardwood and wood and brushy areas. Deer ticks can lead to Lyme disease, human anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.

The main hazards are from mid-May to mid-July when deer ticks feed on a smaller nymph stage. There is a risk, but lesser, when deer tick adult phases are active in early spring and again in autumn (late September-October).

**Bites of the Deer tick**

The prevention:

If you are in tick-infested areas, check and check again for ticks.

- Walk in the center of the trail, when in deer tick habitat, to prevent collecting ticks from grass and brush.

- Wear light-colored clothes to make the ticks more obvious.

- Creating a tick barrier with pants tucking in socks or boots, tucking the long shirt into pants.

- Use a repellent with DEET or perméthrin and read the packaging instructions carefully.

- Immediately get rid of your clothes after you are outside in tick habitat, do a body check, shower, and vigorously dry towel. Wash your garments so that no ticks are disseminated around your living room.

**Removal of tick**

If the tick is removed after it becomes attached, the chance of tick-borne disease is slight. Deer ticks must stay connected to Lyme disease for one to two days and other infections for roughly one day.

- Take precautions, but do not panic if you're finding a deer tick on you. Not all ticks are infectious, and tick removal can prevent disease quickly

- Use tweezers to grab the tick near your mouth.

- Pull the tick straight out, gently, and S-L-O-W-L-Y.

- Do not squeeze the tick's body to avoid contact with the germs, if present.

- Wash the surface and apply a biting antiseptic.

- Watch for early indicators of Lyme disease symptoms.

- Ticks should be tested for pets too.

For more information on this subject, please visit the Minnesota Health Department website.

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