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      Tick season on the way

      The recent cold will delay tick season a later later than usual, so that means you have more time to prepare. When the ticks do come out, it's essential to protect yourself.

      No matter where you go in the U.P., it seems like you just can"t get away from ticks. So maybe you or your family can't run or hide from them. But you can take preemptive steps to avoid becoming tick food.

      Rule #1 is to avoid tick-heavy areas altogether. These are mostly shady, moist areas in wooded and grassy locations.

      Its also well established that ticks love to hide in tall grass and brush, so Rule #2 is to wear the right clothing.

      Examples of this are light-colored clothing so you can spot ticks instantly, close-toed shoes or boots and especially long pants and shirts that can be easily tucked in to protect exposed skin.

      And you can't forget the all-important Rule #3, using the right insect repellent. A smart choice can mean the difference between just warding off ticks and stopping them for good.

      "Something with permethrin or permanone, something like the Coleman Gear and Clothing. It's pretty strong stuff and it does actually kill ticks as well as repel them. It's something you don't want to put on your skin because of that. It's something that you put on, as it says, your gear and your clothing." said Gander Mountain Zone Manager Bob Weisenberger.

      But even if you follow all these steps, you can still get bitten. And if you notice anything wrong with your skin or other problems after a bite, you may be infected with Lyme Disease or other illnesses.

      On your own it can be hard to know if you've contracted anything, but Marquette County Health officials say there is a good way to find out.

      "Ticks can be sent to the State of Michigan Laboratory to identify the type of tick, whether that species of tick is of risk if you find a tick on yourself. That testing is free." said Marquette County Health Department health director Patrick Jacuzzo.

      Jacuzzo also said for an additional fee the laboratory will also test the tick to determine whether or not that tick is infected with disease-causing bacteria.