Tick-borne pathogens can be passed to humans by the bite of infected ticks. Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in the United States include: Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and tularemia.
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in the United States. In 2016, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that Lyme disease has been confirmed in 30 Michigan counties (see map Michigan Lyme Disease Risk Map: 2016), and these cases are on the rise.
Outdoor workers are at risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases if they work at sites with ticks. Worksites with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have more ticks. Outdoor workers in most regions of the United States should be extra careful to protect themselves in the spring, summer, and fall when ticks are most active. To help protect workers, share and follow the CDC’s advice below.
Protect Yourself From Tick Bites When Working Outdoors:
- Use insect repellent that contains 20 – 30 percent DEET.
- Wear clothing that has been treated with permethrin.
- Take a shower as soon as you can after working outdoors
- Look for ticks on your body. Ticks can hide under the armpits, behind the knees, in the hair, and in the groin.
- Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.
How To Remove A Tick
- If a tick is attached to you, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick at the surface of your skin.
- Pull the tick straight up and out. Don’t twist or jerk the tick—this can cause the mouth parts to break off and stay in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers if you can. If not, leave them alone and let your skin heal.
- Clean the bite and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- You may get a small bump or redness that goes away in 1-2 days, like a mosquito bite. This is not a sign that you have Lyme disease.Note: Do not put hot matches, nail polish, or petroleum jelly on the tick to try to make it pull away from your skin.
When To See A Doctor
See a doctor if you develop a fever, a rash, severe fatigue, facial paralysis, or joint pain within 30 days of being bitten by a tick. Be sure to tell your doctor about your tick bite. If you have these symptoms and work where Lyme disease is common, it is important to get treatment right away. If you do not get treatment, you may later experience severe arthritis and problems with your nerves, spinal cord, brain, or heart.
Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. Your doctor will prescribe specific antibiotics, typically for 2-3 weeks. Most patients recover during this time. You may feel tired while you are recovering, even though the infection is cured. If you wait longer to seek treatment or take the wrong medicine, you may have symptoms that are more difficult to treat.
For additional information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/Lyme/.
Should you require additional assistance with preventing tick-borne diseases in your workplace, please contact Gary Smith, CRM, at (517) 338-3367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NIOSH Tick-Borne Diseases: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/tick-borne
- Michigan Emerging Disease Issues: http://www.michigan.gov/
- CDC Lyme Disease Fact Sheet for Outdoor Workers: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/toolkit/factsheets/10_508_Lyme%20disease_Outdoorworkers_FACTSheet.pdf