Officials warn of tick season as warm weather hits Dane County

Bites can transmit diseases

As warm weather arrives, Public Health Madison & Dane County warns residents of peak tick season.

The city has seen the number of deer ticks rise significantly, a release said. Bites from infected deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other diseases. PHMDC has seen an annual average of 135 Lyme disease cases over the last three years.

“We’ve all been educated that a tick bite results in a bull’s-eye rash, but not everyone gets that kind of rash, and sometimes don’t even see a tick on their body,” says Amanda Kita-Yarbro, communicable disease epidemiologist for PHMDC. “If you’re experiencing fever, rash, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, or swollen lymph nodes and have been spending time outdoors, it’s best to talk to your health care provider, even if you haven’t seen a tick on your body or a bull’s-eye rash.”

Early symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-borne disease such as anaplasmoss can happen three to 30 days after a bite.

Lyme disease can spread to joints, the heart and nervous system, but if treated with antibiotics in the early stages, recovery can be rapid and complete. Anaplasmosis can be serious and fatal if correct treatment isn’t chosen.

PHMDC advises people to watch for bull’s-eye rashes and round or oval rashes that gradually expand to 12 inches or larger.

Some ways to prevent tick bites include avoiding brushy or wooded areas with high grass, using repellents containing 20% to 30% DEET, showering after coming indoors, putting clothing in a dryer on high heat to to kill ticks and using products containing permethrin on clothing.

Once leaving the woods or outdoors, people should do a full-body tick check using a mirror before showering.

Dogs are susceptible to tick bites, so make sure to check dogs and use tick preventive products.

To identify ticks, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a tick identification service.

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