Planning a weekend camping trip to a state park or hitting the local trail? Kids are in summer camps and families are spending more time outdoors. Many people find ticks and mosquitoes to be annoying when they’re enjoying outdoor activities; but even worse, bites from either can make you and your kids sick. The most common illnesses are Lyme disease, spread by ticks, and West Nile virus, spread by mosquitoes.
Wisconsin is in the Top 10 U.S. State for Illness Spread by Ticks
Did you know? Wisconsin is in the top 10 U.S. states reporting high numbers of illness spread by ticks. According to Wisconsin Department of Health Services data, around 3,500 Wisconsinites get Lyme disease each year and hundreds more get other illnesses spread by ticks, like anaplasmosis and babesiosis. People of all ages can catch diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes, but children aged 5-14 years are more likely to get Lyme disease compared to most other age groups, which is why it is important to protect yourself and your kids from bug bites on every family adventure.
Tips to Fight the Bite
- Use an EPA-registered repellent, such as one with DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and apply according to label instructions.
- Before heading outdoors, treat clothing and gear with permethrin and allow it to dry. Permethrin-treating clothing and gear will kill ticks and mosquitoes after contact. Do not use permethrin directly on your skin.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Check for and safely remove ticks from yourself, family, and pets. Visit your doctor if you have a rash or fever within 30 days of removing a tick or after possible tick exposure. It is important to tell them when and where you may have come into contact with the tick.
- Take steps to control mosquitoes outside your home.
As you and your family step outside this summer – whether it be fun in your own backyard or a trip up North, make sure you’re protected from tick and mosquito bites. Learn more about how you can Fight the Bite on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website and follow us on social media @DHS.WI. Watch for tick kit giveaways this summer and feel free to share how your family will #FightTheBite.
This post was authored by: Rebecca Osborn, Vectorborne Disease Epidemiologist and Sarah Clifford, Communicable Diseases Health Educator