Spotlight Newsletter | Tick Season

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Tick season isn’t over yet!

Six important things you should know about Lyme Disease

What do these ticks look like?
They are dark brown and very small! The unfed nymph is about the size of a poppy seed. After it feeds (usually in late spring and summer), it expands to the size of a sesame seed. The adult tick is about the size of a sesame seed and can expand to the size of a raisin after it feeds (usually in late fall and winter if warm).

How long must a tick be attached to give you Lyme disease?
In most cases, ticks must be attached for 36 hours or more to transmit the infection to you.

What symptoms should I watch for if I’m bitten?
A rash at the site of the bite occurs in 70 to 80 percent of those infected. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, or neurological symptoms like Bell’s Palsy (temporary paralysis of part of the face). Some people don’t recall an illness or tick bite, and develop a swollen joint (usually the knee) months after the infection started.

How can I protect myself from my family?
You are most likely to be exposed in brushy areas, woods, or near stone walls where mice live and ticks may be present. Use a repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535—these are very effective and safe if you follow product instructions. If you go camping, consider buying clothing and gear that are impregnated with permethrin (or treat gear yourself). Shower soon after coming indoors, preferably within two hours, to wash off any ticks not yet attached. And check yourself and your children after being outside.

I’ve heard Lyme disease can be hard to cure–is that true?
Symptoms usually resolve after treatment with antibiotics, but this may take time. Fewer than 10 percent may experience fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, or subtle cognitive problems that persist longer than six months or a year.

If I find a tick on myself, what should I do?
Don’t put anything on it. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin as possible, and pull straight out. Then clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. If you develop a rash or any symptoms, see your doctor.

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