I don’t know about you, but it seems like every time I turn around, someone is talking about how bad the ticks are this year, and with summer here we’re all outdoors more: booking campsites, dusting off your hiking boots and planting the vegetable garden. Ticks are the last thing we want to worry about while enjoying our favorite summer activities, but understanding ticks and taking preventative measures can help reduce anxiety and risk.
There are at least 16 reported types of ticks in Wisconsin, only a few of which feed on humans. The American dog tick—commonly called the wood tick in Wisconsin—is one of the most common.
Where are the ticks present?
The American dog tick is present in many areas east of the Rocky Mountains. Specifically, this particular tick can be found throughout the entire state of Wisconsin, particularly in wooded, shrubby or tall-grass habitats.
When should I take extra precaution?
In Wisconsin, the American dog tick is most active during the warmer months (May-August), and adult ticks are most active and abundant in June and July in temperate zones like Wisconsin. The time for ticks is NOW!
Should I be worried?
Although tick-related diseases are rarely reported in Wisconsin, the wood tick is capable of transmitting bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia (Lyme Disease). Most reported cases are associated with Wisconsin residents who have travelled to other states where the diseases more commonly occur. In fact, only a few human cases of Lyme Disease were reported in Wisconsin from 2001-2010.
However, the wood tick is known to cause tick paralysis, caused by a toxin in the tick’s saliva. Symptoms begin to emerge after a female tick has attached and begun feeding for at least four to seven days. Symptoms include acute, progressive flaccid paralysis which usually begins the arms or legs. Respiratory failure may occur if the tick is not removed; however, paralysis usually subsides within 24 hours of removing the tick. Although this is also rare, paralysis can occur in humans and is more common in children.
What can I do to minimize risk?
Use the following tips to make sure your family has a tick-free summer!
The tick is attached! How do I remove it?
Don’t worry…it’s as easy as 1-2-3-4!