WISCONSIN. (WFRV) – As temperatures heat up and people get outside to enjoy the weather, it’s important to remember how common ticks are in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is considered a high incident state for Lyme disease and a hot spot for ticks. Rebecca Osborn, a Vector borne Disease Epidemiologist, says that there is no evidence in Wisconsin that Lyme disease is decreasing or going away.
Taking safety measures like staying on trails, away from brush, tall grass, and wearing long pants or shirts are just some of the ways you can try an prevent ticks. Other ways include using bug repellent, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) products, or pyrethrin.
Doing a tick check is very crucial after doing any outdoor activities. Checking areas on your body such as your head, arms, and legs are where you may see most ticks.
Animals can get Lyme disease so doing tick checks on your pets are needed as well. While pets run around in the yard, it can be easy for them to contract any ticks easily. Getting a veterinarian prescribed tick prevention medication can help them shy away from ticks.
Before going out on a family vacation or an afternoon hike, it may be nice to know there’s now an app called “The Tick App” that was developed in 2017-2018 by researchers at UW-Madison and Columbia University to help prevent tick encounters and tick-borne diseases. The app was developed as part of a collaborative research study between the Midwest and Northeast Centers of Excellence in Vector-borne Disease.
Bieneke Bron, scientist and leader of the Tick App at UW-Madison, says the app is a research and informational tool. It shows users how to check for ticks, what a tick looks like, what ticks transport diseases, when are ticks active, how to remove a tick, and an interactive tool that allows users to send pictures of ticks or questions to researchers which they will communicate back and forth to get answers or information.
As for 2020, it remains unknown the status on Lyme disease. “Every year it is hard to predict if that ‘risk’ is higher or lower, because the number of nymphs that are active aren’t necessary consistently higher or lower throughout the state,” says Bron.
With COVID-19, social distancing rules in place, and more people out and about on walks or hikes, it’s so important now to check yourself for ticks.