UNDATED -- As we head outdoors to recreate, work in our gardens or walk through the woods during this coronavirus pandemic, state health officials want you to be mindful of black-legged ticks.

Dave Neitzel is an expert in vector-borne diseases at the Minnesota Department of Health. He says the ticks have been out since the snowmelt and as we head into May, we see the start of the peak tick season.

Neitzel says if you find a tick attached to your skin, you can simply pull it off without too much concern.  Black-legged ticks, also known as Deer Ticks, tend to burrow their bite deeper into your skin than a Wood Tick.  That may mean, its mouth may stay stuck in the bite wound.  He says don't be alarmed, it will likely work itself out much like a wood sliver would.  It's more important to remove the tick as promptly as you can.

Neitzel says the small, black-legged ticks primarily carry the diseases like Anaplasmosis, Powassan Virus and Lyme Disease.

Most tick-borne diseases come with a fever and body aches. He says to talk to your doctor if the symptoms arise and share whether you've been out in wooded or weedy areas.

As always, Neitzel recommends a repellent with DEET, or a repellent you can put on your clothing which includes permethrin.

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