How to protect yourself from ticks this summer

- They're so tiny in size, but bring a large dose of concern. 

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the tick population is actually spreading from the woods to the suburbs so we all need to be watching out for the tiny critters. 

"We're seeing a significantly increased number of tick and tick exposures," says Dr. David Weaver.  He's an emergency room doctor at Beaumont Canton. 

He sees patients either after they've removed a tick or if they want him to get it out, something he says is important to do it the right way. 

"You take a very sharp tweezer or forcip and get very close to the skin where it is attached, and then very gently remove it at that point," he explains. "We want be very careful that don't unnecessarily injure or squeeze the body of the tick, for the fear that may inject more of the potential toxin into the body."

Here's the concern. A Georgia mom posted pictures of her 5-year-old son, Mason, on her Facebook page. She found a tick in his belly button. 

It was quickly removed but then he developed a rash. He was eventually diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a rare bacterial infection. 

Again, this is rare. But in Michigan, cases of tick-borne Lyme disease are up. 

To protect yourself from ticks, wear bug repellant with deet and protective clothing. Take a shower as soon as you come inside and do a tick search.

If you find one, don't panic.

"It's only one form of tick that actually causes the Lyme disease, and we have a tremendous number of ticks that don't cause anything," says Dr. Weaver. "So that's part of the education that we give to patients, that the likelihood of them contracting Lyme from ticks is very small."

Signs that you might have infection are fever, headache, fatigue, aching muscles or joints and a skin rash at the site of the tick bite that may look like a bull's eye or target.

For more information from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, click here. 
 

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