Ticked Off

By Kinga Aitken-Baboczi MD MPH

 

imagesLyme disease gets a lot of attention. Find out what is true, what`s a myth and how to protect against tick bites during outdoor activities.

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi carried by deer ticks.

Deer ticks can be found mainly in tall grass and wooded areas.

Not all ticks carry this bacterium and not all deer ticks` bites turn into Lyme disease.

If the tick is removed within 24-36 hours after biting the risk of infection drops considerably.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for ticks to be removed with a tweezers and to be pulled steadily upwards without twisting. It is important for the entire tick to be removed and for the surface to be thoroughly disinfected.

While pets can get Lyme disease too there is no solid evidence proving pet to human transmission of the disease. Pets are important vehicles in transporting the ticks into human habitats.

After being bit by a tick, a red bump will develop at the bite site. This reaction is normal and does not indicate Lyme disease. However, if in the next couple of days this rash expands and has a bull`s eye pattern, a red circle with a clear center, the rash is the hallmark of Lyme disease. The rash may be accompanied by flu like symptoms such as headaches, fever, muscle ache and fatigue.

Later in the course of the disease, infected individuals may experience joint pain, arrhythmias or neurological symptoms.

If you have recently spent time outdoors and you suspect you may have been bitten by a tick or you recognize any of the above symptoms contact ringMD`s specialists for a free consultation.

It is important to seek early medical attention because when treated early with antibiotics Lyme disease is curable!

If you had Lyme disease before, you are not immune and you can get it again!

Prevention tips:

Wear long pants and long sleeves when in nature

Wear light color clothing, tuck pants into socks and shirts into pants when in grassy or wooded areas

Wear insect repellent containing DEET

Use tick control measures for your pets

Thoroughly check yourself, your child and pet after spending time outdoors

Brush off any ticks to prevent them from attaching

·         Remove a tick as soon as possible by grasping with a tweezers as close as possible to the attachment site.

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