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HEALTH | What to look for when it comes to ticks and Lyme disease

Lyme disease is a chronic problem in the area. In a recent release, State Sen. Wayne Fontana’s office offered up some tips on how to avoid tick bites and prevent Lyme Disease this summer. As the majority of us here at Gazette 2.0 are animal lovers and have pets of our own, we thought it a good idea to pass along this information as summer-like temps continue to climb.

Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. With outdoor activities expanding in the warm summer months, activities like camping, yard work or even walking the family dog can expose people to ticks.

Fontana’s office supplied this advice:

• Walk in the center of trails

• Use EPA-registered repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone

• Bathe or shower within 2 hours after coming indoors to find and wash off ticks

• Check your entire body for ticks with a mirror after returning from outdoors

• Examine your gear and pets to keep ticks from being brought inside

• Tumble dry clothes on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on clothing

If you find a tick attached to your skin, Fontana’s office recommends using a pair of tweezers to pluck off the tick as soon as possible. The CDC offers the following guidance on how to properly remove a tick:

Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you cannot remove the mouth easily with tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Dispose of a live tick by:

  • Putting it in alcohol

  • Placing it in a sealed bag/container

  • Wrapping it tightly in tape or

  • Flushing it down the toilet

Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include a bulls-eye-shaped mark on the skin that looks like a bug bite, fever, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle and joint aches, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Immediate treatment for Lyme disease can prevent lasting medical problems, so doctors recommend not writing off symptoms as a summer cold.



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