29 June 2016
Maryland Get Ticked Off! www.MarylandTickOff.org
Lyme Disease and Ticks: What You Need to Know
Maj. Katina Foxworth, Barquist Army Health Clinic
With warmer weather approaching, people get more active in the great outdoors; hiking, biking, walking and doing other “fun-in-the sun” activities.

Everyone needs to be aware that we are not the only creatures that get more active in the warmer months. Ticks are most active from April to September, and Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Maryland and in the United States.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick (sometimes called a deer tick). The tick must be attached for at least 24 hours for transmission to occur.

From 3-30 days after a tick bite, a gradually expanding rash may occur at the site of the bite in 70-80 percent of infected people. The rash can expand over several days to up to 12 inches and may resemble a bull’s eye.

Other symptoms may include fever, headache and fatigue. If untreated, Lyme disease may progress to involve joints, the nervous system and the cardiac system.

Contact your healthcare provider if you develop any of these symptoms after a tick bite or after being in tick habitats. Some healthcare providers and state/local health departments offer tick identification and testing. Check with your healthcare provider or health department for more information.

Most cases of tick-borne disease can be cured with antibiotics, especially when treatment is started early.

To prevent Lyme disease:

  • - Look for ticks when they are most active in late spring through early fall.

  • - Wear long pants and long sleeves, to help keep ticks off your body.

  • - Tuck shirts into pants, and pants into socks, to keep ticks on the outside of clothing.

  • - Wear light colored clothing to help spot ticks more easily.

  • - Use insect repellent, such as DEET, according to the product label.

  • - When hiking, walk in the center of the trail when in woods or high grass. Stay away from brushy areas, high grass and leaf litter.

  • - Check for ticks daily after being in tick habitats.

  • - Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

  • - Talk to your veterinarian about tick control products for pets.

If you, a member of your family or pet have an attached tick, it is very important to properly remove the tick.

Proper Removal of Ticks

It is very important to remove ticks properly. Mark your calendar on the date when a tick is taken off your body. This information will be useful to your doctor.

Remove a tick from your skin as soon as you notice it. Use fine-tipped tweezers to firmly grasp the tick very close to your skin. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from your skin. Then clean your skin with soap and warm water. Throw the dead tick away with your household trash.

Avoid crushing the tick’s body. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Once the mouthparts are removed from the rest of the tick, it can no longer transmit the Lyme disease bacteria. If you accidentally crush the tick, clean your skin with soap and warm water or alcohol. Don’t use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or other products to remove a tick.

For more information, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html or www.MarylandTickOff.org
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