Fort McCoy News June 10, 2016

Take steps to protect against ticks

Fort McCoy's thousands of acres of woodlands are a prime location for tick activity from spring through fall, said Wildlife Biologist David Beckmann with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch (NRB).

Several types of ticks can be found at Fort McCoy. These include the wood tick (most common), deer tick (blacklegged tick), and the lone-star tick (rare but has been found in low numbers on post).

This pamphlet and other information about tick prevention is available at the Fort McCoy Permit Sales Office in building 2168 as well as online at the installation’s i-Sportsman website at  www.mccoy.isportsman.net.
This pamphlet, and other information about tick prevention, is
available at the Fort McCoy Permit Sales Office in building 2168 as
well as online at the installation's i-Sportsman website at
www.mccoy.isportsman.net.

Tick-borne diseases associated with the deer tick include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. Anaplasmosis also is associated with the wood tick. Rarer diseases, such as the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and the Powassan encephalitis virus, also can be carried by ticks.

"Because there are a lot of ticks here, it's important for people to take precautions to prevent tick exposure and to check themselves for ticks after they've been in tick habitat," Beckmann said. "It's also important for everyone to know the risks ticks present and to take steps to continually protect themselves."

Ticks prefer wooded areas with brush and vegetation and thrive in hot and humid conditions, Beckmann said. Tick exposure can occur throughout most of the year. "Ticks are very active from early spring and into late fall at Fort McCoy," he said.

People can protect themselves against ticks by employing some of the following measures.

• Avoid areas where ticks may congregate.

• Wear clothes that cover the majority of the body, including arms and legs. Tuck pants into socks and shirts into pants. If outdoors for an extended period of time, tape pant legs where pants and socks meet so that ticks cannot crawl under clothes.

• Apply insect repellent containing permethrin to clothes as directed in the product instructions. Beckmann said permethrin-containing products work well and are the best option in helping to reduce tick exposure. These products generally are designed to treat clothing and should not be applied to the skin.

• Examine clothes and skin frequently for ticks, either after being in the woods or in the yard at home.

• After outdoor activities, examine yourself, especially in areas with hair that hold heat.

• Use a tick-repellent collar for pets and check them closely after being outdoors.

Ticks that become embedded in skin should be removed as soon as possible.

"Use tweezers to pull the tick out," Beckmann said. "It's important to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull. Don't squeeze the tick too tightly to lessen the risk of squeezing fluid from the tick into the blood stream."

After removing a tick, monitor the bite site for a bull's-eye rash, which can indicate contraction of Lyme disease. Not everyone with Lyme disease gets this type of rash. Flu-like symptoms also could accompany Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, Beckmann said.

A brochure with information about ticks found in the area, created by the NRB in partnership with Michigan State University, is available at the Permit Sales office, building 2168, and the Installation Safety Office, building 1678.

The brochure also can be downloaded from the Fort McCoy i-Sportsman website at www.mccoy.isportsman.net. For additional information, call the NRB at 608-388-2252.

   (Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office and the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch.)