Tick season is in full swing, and Washburn County residents are at risk of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme, Anaplasma/Ehrlichhiosis, Babesiosis, and Powassan Virus.

All of these diseases can cause serious health problems.

The Washburn County Health Dept. received tick prevention materials, including cans of bug spray containing DEET, from the Western Wisconsin Readiness Consortium. Come to the Health Department any time between 8-12 and 1-4:30 Monday through Friday to pick up a can of bug spray and tick prevention materials. All you need to do is complete a brief 5 question survey about your tick prevention habits!

While ticks and tick-borne diseases are here to stay, people can still enjoy the Northwoods by taking these precautions from the Centers for Disease Control:

Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood. Walk in the center of trails, and avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions. Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.

Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.

Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around the hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist

Remove attached ticks immediately with fine-tipped tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. If you do have an attached tick that you somehow missed in your tick checks, and believe it has been attached for more than a day, call your medical provider, as they may be able to prescribe a preventive dose of antibiotics for Lyme (this unfortunately does not work for the other tick diseases).

For more information, contact the Washburn County Health Dept at 715-635-4400 or go online to http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html 


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