Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

More Ticks, More Chances for Contracting Lyme Disease

By Katie Thoresen, WXPR Public Radio

In 2018, Wisconsin had more than 3,100 estimated cases of Lyme disease. The average number of reported cases has more than doubled over the past 10 years, according to the Department of Health Services.

“Lyme disease is extremely prevalent here, unfortunately just due to the large amount of ticks in the area,” said Tiffany Miller, a nurse practitioner with Aspirus Rhinelander Clinic.

She said there are things you can do to prevent tick bites like wearing long sleeves and pants when outside, wearing light colors so you can spot the bug on you sooner, and using insect repellant.

If you spend a lot of time in the woods, Miller recommends getting a tool called a tick twister to safely remove a tick that’s bitten you.

“They work pretty nicely to get those ticks removed. Ideally you do want to get the whole tick out. In some cases, people can get the tick off, but the head unfortunately is still embedded. We tell patients not to become super alarmed if that does occur,” said Miller.

Miller said if the tick is removed within 48 hours, even with the head embedded, it’s less likely you’ll contract Lyme disease.

If you’ve had a tick on you for more than two days, she does recommend going to a clinic for treatment.

“We can start you on some prophylactic antibiotics. Hopefully you don’t develop Lyme disease,” said Miller.

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