Lasee's Notes
 May 4, 2017

Lasee's Notes is a way for me to communicate directly with you on key issues of our day
and to champion limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.
How we respond to these issues today, will affect the direction of our state and nation tomorrow.

I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me, Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 266-3512. If you are planning to be in Madison, please visit, I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.

DANGER!!! Lurks in Wisconsin-Be Careful


Spring in Wisconsin means many different things: warmer weather, open water fishing, an influx of Illinois drivers, and yes, pants in socks. Out-of-towners may just think we’re fashion forward, but we know that along with spring comes ticks, and with ticks, Lyme disease. Wisconsin is a hotbed for Lyme disease and it’s only going to get worse without increased awareness and proactive steps to prevent this devastating disease from affecting our skin, joints, nervous system, and heart.


This is still not okay (fashion joke for my daughters).

Lyme disease was first found in the United States in 1975 in the now infamous town of Lyme, Connecticut.  It’s a bacterial disease and is spread through deer ticks. Many people panic when they find one crawling on them; however, a tick must attach to a person’s skin for about 24 hours before they’re able to transmit the disease.  People and pets can pick up a tick by simply being outside. However, being in a wooded area increases the chances of picking up the unwanted and dangerous traveler.

Wisconsin has become a magnet for migrant, Lyme carrying, Vermont ticks because we have what can be most aptly described as the perfect storm of circumstances.  Our Wisconsin climate has been warmer and wetter in recent years and the increase in humidly and temperature has created a favorable environment for ticks to thrive. Also, ticks feed off of deer and mice and we all know there’s plenty enough to go around.

You might be thinking, “Frank, you’re not painting a pretty picture.” Well, despite the beautiful spring we’re having, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, there were 25,000 Lyme disease cases and 96% of them were reported from only 14 states. Wisconsin claimed nearly 3,000 of them.  From 1990 to 2015, almost 40,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in Wisconsin.  In 2014, a UW professor of entomology searched the UW Arboretum for immature infected deer ticks and found 32.  In 2016, the professor searched the same exact area and found 592 immature infected deer ticks. As the statistics bear out, it’s a growing problem.


This picture should "tick" you off.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Public Health, some of the precautions that you can take to reduce your risk of acquiring Lyme disease are: 

Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and high socks with pant cuffs tucked into the socks. Light colored clothing will make ticks easier to find. Walk in the center of mowed trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation.

Insect repellents containing 20-30% DEET may be applied to skin and clothing to provide protection for several hours. 

After you have been outside, place dry items in the dryer on high heat for six minutes, or one hour for wet items, to kill any ticks present.

Conduct thorough "tick checks" on yourself and others, including pets, after spending time outdoors. Prompt removal of ticks, even after they have attached, can drastically reduce the chance of Lyme disease transmission.

Remove attached ticks with tweezers.  Pull the tick up by its head and out from your body, then disinfect the site and wash your hands.  If a tick is attached for more than 24 hours, consult a doctor.

Lyme disease often first presents itself as a rough circular reddish rash around or near the site of the tick bite.  As the rash expands, other symptoms can start to develop such as: fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle discomfort, and joint pain.  Prompt and early detection of Lyme disease is incredibly important and can be treated with oral antibiotics, injectable antibiotics, and/or antimicrobials.  The longer the disease is allowed to remain in a person’s body, the more devastating the effects.  During testimony on a bill during the 2015-2016 legislative session, a woman testified that her untreated Lyme disease caused an infection in her brain making it hard for her to walk.

The importance of tick avoidance and personal protection, tick detection and removal, the signs and symptoms of tick-borne illnesses, and the need for prompt diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease can’t be overstated for everyone living in Wisconsin. That’s why I chose to focus my weekly Notes on bringing awareness of Lyme disease to you. I also co-authored a resolution proclaiming May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month – spread the word, be cognizant of those dirty little buggers, and go enjoy a beautiful Wisconsin spring!



 
 

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State Capitol Room 316S- PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-3512
Email: Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov