Skip to main content

If you're being outdoorsy, be careful: Ticks are active again

Take steps to prevent tick bites if your spending time outside.

Minnesota has been enjoying some beautiful fall weather lately, and – not to be all Debbie downer about it but – that has health officials reminding people to be careful with ticks.

Peak activity for blacklegged ticks (deer ticks) is in late May through June, but activity spikes again in the fall when temperatures start to cool down.

That brings adult deer ticks back out, the Minnesota Department of Health says. (Deer ticks stay active as long as the temperature remains above freezing, according to the University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center.)

And some ticks can spread diseases, including Lyme disease, a potentially serious bacterial infection.

So if you're going on a hike or spending time in the woods or near brush, it's important to use a good tick repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and check for ticks regularly (a tick has to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit bacteria), MDH suggests.

What if I was bit?

If you think you were bitten by a tick, it's important to watch for symptoms of Lyme disease – the earlier it's diagnosed and treated, the better.

Initial symptoms include a distinctive bullseye-shaped rash, fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue. More long-term complications can include facial paralysis, problems with your nervous system, swelling in your joints, and persistent weakness and fatigue.

Lyme disease cases are on the rise

Minnesota is one of 14 states where the majority of Lyme disease cases are found. Central, northern and southeastern Minnesota are considered the most high-risk areas to contract a tick-borne illness (see a map here), so if you're planning to spend time in the woods there, take extra precautions.

The number of Minnesota cases has been "increasing dramatically" since the 1990s, MDH's website shows, and the area where Lyme disease cases are reported is expanding.

Last year, there were 1,176 confirmed cases of Lyme disease, and one person died from the disease. Despite the number of cases fluctuating from year to year (see graph below), the Department of Health says the median number of cases is growing.

Over the past decade, the median number of cases is 1,121. That's significantly higher than the median 464 cases from 1996 to 2005. The health department says the rise in cases can be attributed to a few factors, including: increasing physician awareness, increasing infection rates in ticks, and expanding tick distribution.

For more information on ticks in Minnesota and how to prevent tick-transmitted diseases, click here. And for tips on how to prevent your pet from getting ticks, click here.

Next Up

flickr - gov tim walz - mn senate dfl

Overturning Roe v. Wade won't do a 'damn thing' to prevent abortions, Walz says

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Saturday meant to protect abortion access in the state and people who come from out of state seeking one.

ambulance

Man crossing Highway 13 in Burnsville fatally struck by driver

The victim is a 31-year-old man from Prior Lake.

Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 7.50.33 AM

4 shot near Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis

The shooting happened around 11 p.m. Saturday.

Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 7.55.28 PM

Charges: Cop feared for his life during struggle for gun with suspect

Allen Denzel Oliver-Hall has been charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

Burnsville, Minnesota - May 2019 (2)

Shootout near Erik's Bike Shop, Lunds & Byerlys in Burnsville

Police say youths were shooting at each other on Saturday afternoon.

minnesota river

Fishermen find body floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

The body was found upstream from Minnesota River Heritage Park.

Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 11.01.17 AM

Woman breaks free after being kidnapped and taken to Brooklyn Park

The woman was taken by force as she arrived at her work in Plymouth.

image

How the fastest animal on the planet returned to MN after local extinction

The fastest animal on Earth had once vanished from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Related

If you're being outdoorsy, be careful: Ticks are active again

Take steps to prevent tick bites if your spending time outside.

The three types of ticks in Minnesota that are known to cause diseases: The lone star tick (upper left), the American dog tick aka wood tick (upper right) and the blacklegged tick aka deer tick (bottom right).

If there was ever a year to check for ticks, this is it

It's shaping up to be a bad year for ticks in Minnesota.

It's catch-and-release for walleye on Mille Lacs again this summer

Oh, and the lake will be closed to walleye fishing for three weeks in July.

It's catch-and-release for walleye on Mille Lacs again this summer

Oh, and the lake will be closed to walleye fishing for three weeks in July.