It's a bit early on in the season, but because Maine had such a mild winter and the early spring weather has been beautiful, especially lately, the amount of ticks already hitching rides on us or our pups is a lot more than it normally is for this time of year. According to the Portland Press Herald, dog tick numbers are already pretty high for this time of year, and we're still about 3-4 weeks away from their peak.

Dog Ticks vs Deer Ticks

While the Portland Press Herald is reporting that dog ticks are pretty much running wild all over the state right now, it also seems like deer ticks are staying pretty dormant and aren't out and about as much as dog ticks. That's a good thing, believe it or not, because while dog ticks can still carry some diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, dog ticks in Maine don't seem to carry it. Plus, it's the deer ticks that can wallop us with Lyme disease.

MaineDOT via YouTube
MaineDOT via YouTube

What is Lyme disease?

All that said, deer ticks are still out and about a bit, as so far, according to NEWS CENTER Maine, the Maine CDC is reporting about 66 cases of Lyme disease already.  One of the tell-tale signs of having Lyme, according to the CDC, is if you have a rash in a bullseye pattern. Flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and limb weakness can also occur as well.

The crazy part of all this is we're not even into tick season yet. Tick season generally starts around June, which is when the dryer, warmer weather really starts fully kicking in. According to the Bangor Daily News, reports of ticks at this time last year were in the single digits, but as of right now there have been well over 300.

How to remove a tick

The CDC suggests that if you do get bit by a tick and it's clinging on (and it will, because that's what they do), the best thing to do is grab a pair of tweezers and cling onto it as close to the skin as possible and pull upward as steady as possible. If you twist or jerk the tick, there's a change parts of its mouth could tear off and remain inside your skin.

Follow up by cleaning the bite area and your hands with alcohol, soap, and water, then ditch the tick by either flushing it down the toilet, tossing it in a sealed bag wrapped tightly in tape, or just drown it in alcohol (but not the good stuff. That'd just be a waste.)

LOOK: Here Are 30 Foods That Are Poisonous to Dogs

To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

Even with all of these resources, however, the best cure for food poisoning is preventing it in the first place. To give you an idea of what human foods can be dangerous, Stacker has put together a slideshow of 30 common foods to avoid. Take a look to see if there are any that surprise you.

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