More and more ticks

Ticks are here in force this season in Aroostook County, Maine and across the state. As summer approaches, there are things to look out for and ways to reduce the risk.

Dog ticks are the most prominent right now during the spring months in the state. Dog ticks are different from deer ticks and do not carry Lyme disease. But people are seeing more and more of them as everyone is getting outside with family, friends and pets.

Maine tick stats

Maine was in a drought last year and the tick issue was not as bad. As a whole insect bites were lower last summer because of the dryness. According to the Associated Press, Lyme disease cases last year were cut almost in half. In 2019 there were 2,167 cases and in 2020 there were 1,115. Officials said the case numbers could reflect the reluctance to see medical professionals during the pandemic. Getting more rain and humidity this year will cause ticks to increase in numbers.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 176 emergency room visits related to ticks in the week ending May 16. There were 91 emergency room visits in 2020 during the week ending in May 16. So far this year, there have already been 100 Lyme disease cases reported from January 1 to May 18.

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Reducing exposure to ticks

One of the methods to reduce exposure to ticks is to wear repellent and cover arms and legs as much as possible. Check yourself, family and pets on a regular basis to spot ticks right away. You can buy kits for removal.

The CDC have some recommendations to reduce the tick population around your home. Pesticides can be used in your yard to help combat ticks. Also, clearing leaves and brushes can help. Maintaining the lawn and mowing regularly can also be beneficial.

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic: