The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) encourages Michigan residents to take steps to avoid tick bites while outdoors. Tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, are increasing across the state as weather warms. Ticks can be active when the weather is above 40 degrees.

Signs and symptoms of tick-borne disease typically begin one to two weeks after a tick bite, often after being in wooded and grassy areas where ticks commonly live. Early symptoms can be non-specific and include fever or chills, rash, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. Early treatment with appropriate antibiotics can decrease the risk of serious complications.

People can protect themselves against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases by following these tips:

Avoid tick-infested areas:

  • Ticks live in grassy, brushy and wooded areas.
  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass at trail edges.
  • Protect pets — Dogs and cats can come into contact with ticks outdoors and bring them into the home. Talk with your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your pets.

Use insect repellent:

  • Apply an EPA-registered repellent on exposed skin.
  • Treat clothes (especially pants, socks and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying repellents.

Perform daily tick checks:

  • Always check for ticks on yourself and your animals after being outdoors, including in your own wooded yard.
  • Inspect all body surfaces carefully and remove attached ticks with tweezers.
  • To remove a tick, grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

Bathe or shower:

  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (within two hours) to more easily find ticks that might be crawling on you.
  • Wash clothing in hot water and dry on high heat to kill ticks in clothing.

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