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Tick Season is Upon Us! Learn How to Prevent a Bite, and What to do if You Get Bit

May 16, 2023 09:45AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Erik Karits

From Cook County Public Health and Human Services - May 16, 2023

As we look forward to warmer weather and melting snow, tick season is also approaching. A variety of diseases may be spread by ticks in Minnesota. You can decrease your chance of being exposed to tickborne disease by knowing what to look for and taking a few preventative steps.

The blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick, is the main tick of public health concern as it causes the most tickborne disease in Minnesota. The blacklegged tick is 3-5 millimeters in length with a flat, oval shaped body, 8 legs, and dark, reddish brown to black coloring. The American dog tick, also called the wood tick, is 5-15 millimeters in length with a brown and red dotted body and 8 legs. Bites from the American dog tick are common, but they rarely spread disease.

Spending time outdoors in the spring and summer months is a great part of living in Minnesota, but people who work and play outside are at a higher risk of getting diseases from tick bites. 

These steps will help you enjoy your time outside while lowering your risk for tickborne disease:

  1. Be aware. Ticks can be active anytime temperatures are above freezing and there is little to no snow on the ground. They can be found in wooded and brushy areas, as well as more open, grassy habitats.
  2. Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered tick repellant (look for an EPA registration number on the packaging). Products containing permethrin, which are used on clothing and gear, are especially recommended for people who spend a lot of time in wooded areas. Do not use permethrin on your skin. Standard DEET-based products in concentrations up to 30% are safe for adults and children, but do not use DEET for infants under two months.   
  3. Check yourself and your children for ticks after coming indoors. Bathe or shower to wash off and more easily find ticks. Search your entire body closely, especially hard-to-see areas like in and around ears and hair, behind knees, under arms, and around the groin area.
  4. If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible. Prompt removal can lower the risk of tickborne disease transmission. Use a pair of tweezers or your fingers to grasp the tick by the head, close to the skin. Pull the tick outward slowly, gently, and steadily. Clean the area with soap and water. 

Not all ticks carry disease, and not all bites from infected ticks will result in disease transmission. Lyme disease is the most reported tickborne disease in Minnesota. Early symptoms usually appear within 30 days of being infected and include:

  • Rash (May look like a bull’s-eye, or a red ring with a clear center that may grow to several inches in width. May not be itchy or painful. Not everyone gets or sees a rash and not all rashes look like a bull’s-eye.)
  • Fever or chills
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Headache
  • Tiredness or weakness

Other diseases may cause similar symptoms. Know what signs and symptoms to look for and contact your doctor immediately if you think you may have a tickborne disease.

Source material and more information can be found at these websites:

About Cook County, MN

Cook County encompasses the sovereign nation of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; the City of Grand Marais; the Townships of Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder; and unincorporated areas in the easternmost part of Minnesota’s North Shore. Cook County Government values transparency and strives to deliver superior services and programs in a fiscally responsible way. We value the dignity of all County residents and seek to create a community that provides opportunity for all. Many of our offices are in the Cook County Courthouse at 411 W 2nd St, Grand Marais 55604. Other departments and facilities, such as the Airport, Community Center, Highway and Sheriff are located nearby. Call 218-387-3000 or visit:

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