Mosquito & tick danger

POSTED: Monday, May 5th, 2014 --- 5:20p.m.

They may leave you scratching all summer long but mosquito and tick bites can also be dangerous. Bill Costillo takes his two dogs Zoey and Rocky to the park every day. "I get my walk in and they get their run in," he said. And those visits to the park can bring home dangers. Bill added, "we've gone home and sat on the couch together and all of a sudden I feel something crawling on me and it was at tick!

Health officials say it's only the beginning for ticks. "As soon as they get a nice, sunny day and they happen to be in a ray of sunshine that sunshine will warm them up and they'll start moving around," said John Hausbeck, Environmental Health Services Supervisor for Madison & Dane County Public Health.

Ticks can carry Lyme disease. If left untreated, can spread to the heart and nervous system. Ticks aren't the only concern during the warm summer months. Health officials say when the water is shallow and standing, it's a perfect environment for mosquitoes to breed.

Besides giving you those bites that have you itching at all hours of the day, mosquitoes can also carry West Nile virus, a disease that can make you feel tired and weak for months. Officials say being prepared for the elements will help keep you safe. "Repellents with 20-30% Deet can be effective against both mosquitoes and ticks," said Hausbeck.

You can help officials track West Nile virus in our area by reporting any dead birds you may find in your yard. The statewide, toll-free dead bird reporting hotline at 1-800-433-1610.

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