Tick Removal Kit Outreach
Summer is here and so are ticks. Tick bites can spread Lyme disease, which, according to the 2019 Portage County Environmental Health Profile from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, was Wisconsin’s fourth highest reported notifiable communicable disease in 2017. Wisconsin’s climate is becoming warmer and wetter, which makes more favorable living conditions for ticks, resulting in an increase tick-borne disease such as Lyme disease.
Lyme disease can cause serious health implications. An infected tick bite can cause a variety of symptoms, which can appear days to months after the infected bite. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to, fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint aches, bulls-eye rash. Lyme disease is preventable and treatable. The public is encouraged to seek out medical care if illness or concern develops after a tick bite.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. The following are ways to prevent tick bites:
- Know where ticks live. Ticks live in damp and humid environments, like wooded or grassy areas.
- Treat clothes and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
- Use an insect repellent that is registered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Avoid contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and walk in the center of trails.
- After coming indoors, check clothes for ticks, examine gear and pets, check your body for ticks, and shower soon after being outdoors.
If bitten by a tick, the following are steps to correctly remove the tick:
- Grasp tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible using a fine-tipped tweezers.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure (don’t twist or jerk the tick).
- Clean the bite area and hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water after removing the tick.
- Flush tick down the toilet to dispose. Put it in rubbing alcohol or place in a sealed bag if bringing it to your healthcare provider for identification.
- Do not remove the tick by using nail polish, petroleum jelly, or using heat to make it detach from the skin. These methods can make the tick burrow deeper into the skin and release more saliva, making it more likely to pass along disease.
The Portage County Division of Public Health is providing tick removal kits free to the public. The kits were made possible through Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Included in the kits are tweezers, insect repellent wipes, and instructions on how to correctly remove a tick. Division of Public Health staff will be present at several upcoming outdoor events in Portage County to provide education and activities about preventing tick bites, as well as giving away the tick removal kits for free to the public. Free tick removal kits will be available at these locations and times:
July 6- Riverfront Rendezvous, Pfiffner Pioneer Park, 1-4 PM
July 11- Central Wisconsin Water Ski Show Team Show, Lake DuBay, 6:30 PM
July 18- Levitt Amp Concert, Pfiffner Pioneer Park, 6-8 PM
July 21- Portage County Fair, Amherst, 9-12 PM
The kits will also be handed out at campgrounds and other natural areas in Portage County; times and dates to be determined. Protect yourself and your loved ones from Lyme disease, and get your free tick removal kit from the Portage County Division of Public Health! Supplies are limited and offered on a first come, first serve basis.