Beware of ticks this fall

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Fall is here, which means hunters and those taking advantage of cooler temperatures will be hitting the trails and wooded areas before winter arrives. It may be cooling off outside, but just because there is frost, doesn't mean the activity of ticks goes down.

Outdoor enthusiast Dane Krajewski first ran into the disease seven years ago. He noticed a little red dot on his skin. He had other symptoms including feeling nauseous.

The bullsye rash is the most common symptom of the disease. The problem is, not everyone gets the rash. "It's estimated that maybe 75% will get the rash, and 25% will not. It will turn more into a more arthritis condition," said Dr. Lloyd Turtinen, Professor of Biology at UW-Eau Claire. He conducted a study on deer ticks earlier this year. He explained how the spring is the worst when it comes to ticks. The problem slows down in the summer, but then goes up again in the fall.

Dr. Turtinen’s study found that the overall prevalence for ticks carrying the Lyme Disease bacteria was 34 percent. In Eau Claire County alone, the prevalence of positive ticks was just over 38 percent, compared to Dunn County at 22 percent.

It's hard to avoid going outside, especially this time of year, but there are some ways you can prevent yourself from getting the disease. Dr. Turtinen said that finding the ticks are tough. "You really have to look for them, not only for visible adult ticks, but for the nymphs which are really hard to find. They tend to be in places that are really hard to look into, like under the arm or in the armpit," said Turtinen.

Dane still spends a lot of time outdoors. "I'm still out there quite a bit, but I'm a lot more careful. I check myself, I really check myself," said Krajewski.

Western Wisconsin has a high deer presence, and according to Dr. Turtinen, where there are deer, there are ticks.

If you feel symptoms of Lyme disease, it's better to get into the doctor's office sooner, rather than later.

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