Temperatures are increasing and people are starting to spend more time outside. They won’t be alone as ticks are also starting to emerge with the warmer weather.

That means an increased chance of tick bites and potentially contracting Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 476,000 people are found to have Lyme disease in the U.S. every year. 

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month and aims to spread awareness of how to prevent Lyme and tick-borne diseases.

Tick bites are prevalent in Wisconsin.

Any time the snow melts and the ground starts to thaw, ticks start to come out. So, anytime you’re outside in the woods or clean up brush, you’re going to want to cover up and protect yourself from tick bites.

There are several precautions one can take to help prevent tick-borne illnesses.

  • Wear long pants with your socks pulled over your pants.
  • Wear light colored clothing.
  • Use a bug spray on your clothes when you are participating in activities outdoors.
  • Place your clothes in the dryer for 15 minutes after being outside to kill any ticks.
  • Perform daily tick checks, especially in areas such as the bend of the knees, groin, belt line, hairline and armpits.

Ashley Johnson is a nurse practitioner at the Aspirus Tick-Borne Illness Center in Woodruff.