It's bad enough we have our wonderful state bird to worry about every summer, but there's another dangerous insect we should all be concerned about just as much.

You might have heard that diseases caused by insect bites have been on the rise throughout the United States over the past several years. In fact, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), between 2004 and 2016 Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation and is considered the epicenter of tick-related illnesses - including Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is spread by black-legged ticks, otherwise known as deer ticks or bear ticks that are infected with the Lyme disease bacteria and can cause crippling symptoms like chronic headaches, flu-like symptoms, joint pain and more.

Other symptoms include fever, chills, and fatigue. Months after the onset of the illness, symptoms can become serious and include: multiple rashes, paralysis on one side of the face, heart palpitations, arthritis and severe fatigue.

If that's not scary enough, a deadly brain-swelling tick virus was found earlier this month in Minnesota! Be sure and ALWAYS do a thorough top to bottom check for ticks after coming in from outside and also thoroughly check your kids for ticks after a day outdoors.

Medicine Plus says you can protect yourself and your family by using a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin, wearing light-colored protective clothing, and tucking pant legs into socks. Be sure and protect your four-legged friends as well. Use flea and tick preventative on your pets as they can carry ticks indoors and onto furniture and beds.

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