OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – In Wisconsin, summer months are marked by residents getting up and about and exploring the many local state parks, trails, and amazing conservatories Wisconsin has to offer. However, before heading out, health officials are asking residents to take caution as tick-borne illnesses are on the rise.
According to the Oconto County Public Health and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there are many diseases that can be spread by ticks, including Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. As of July 1, Oconto health officials say that there have been 10 cases of Anaplasmosis among Oconto County residents this year, compared to 9 in 2020.
Health officials note that Anaplasmosis symptoms include fever, chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. Like other tick-related illnesses, anaplasmosis can be treated effectively with an antibiotic. If anaplasmosis is not treated, it can cause respiratory failure, bleeding problems, organ failure, or death.
To prevent tick bites and all tick related illnesses officials are recommending residents to do the following:
- Use repellent on skin and clothing.
- Apply permethrin to clothes, shoes, and gear, but do not apply it directly to the skin.
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing including long sleeves, long pants, and long socks to keep ticks on the outside of clothing. Adventurers are also encouraged to wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to spot.
- Avoid direct contact with ticks by walking in the center of trails and trying not to brush up against plants on the edge of trails.
- Check for ticks after being outside paying special attention to your armpits, behind the knees, scalp, in and around ears, inside the belly button, and groin area.
- Quickly remove any ticks you find on your body by grasping the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and then pull upwards and out with a firm and steady tension. Once the tick is out, get rid of it by placing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.
After removing the tick, health officials are asking residents to clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol and to wash their hands immediately. Residents who develop a rash, fever, headache, muscle pain, chills, fatigue, or nausea/abdominal pain, are asked to see a doctor.