Pure Michigan summer weather may come with a lot of time spent outdoors at the beach during the day and around the campfire at night. Regardless of where your family spends its time in the fresh air, it is important to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites to keep your family safe and healthy.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) urges all residents, especially those with children and those that are active outdoors, to protect themselves. Mosquitoes in Michigan can carry illnesses such as West Nile virus and ticks can carry Lyme disease. Mosquito and tick-borne diseases can cause mild symptoms or severe infections.
- Avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn.
- Look for mosquito repellent that contains active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Reapply repellent as needed, following label directions, especially if your outdoor fun continues for longer than an hour.
- Use nets or fans around eating areas.
- Check your window and door screens for holes
- Eliminate containers of standing water in your yard
- Ticks are typically found in wooded areas or areas with tall grass
- The most commonly encountered ticks in Michigan include the American dog tick which can carry Rocky Mountain fever (rare) and the blacklegged tick which can carry Lyme disease
- See a doctor if you or your child experience symptoms such as fever, body aches, or rash in the days after receiving a tick bite - early recognition can decrease the chance of serious complications
- Avoid tick-infested areas, especially May - July, and walk in the center of trails
- Use insect repellent, including spraying on clothing
- Do not use permethrin (used on camping gear) on your skin or the skin of your children.
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after an outdoor adventure
- Wash and dry clothing at a high temperature in case any ticks attached themselves during outdoor time
- Perform daily tick checks - early removal can reduce the risk of infection since ticks must usually be attached for a day before they can transmit bacteria that causes Lyme disease
- When removing ticks: Grasp the tick firmly, as closely to the skin as possible, and pull the body away from the skin in a steady motion. Follow up with antiseptic.
Source: Picture from tomlinsonbomberger.com