Have you had a tick bite? Be aware of Lyme disease and talk to your doctor about Lyme disease prevention and treatment.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease comes from the bite of an infected deer tick. Ticks are typically found in heavily wooded areas from May through August. Infected ticks also can show up on pets.
An infected tick has to be attached from 24-48 hours before it can transfer bacteria that can cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease typically comes from underdeveloped deer ticks called nymphs.
Check for Ticks After Being Outside
Anyone who comes in contact with a deer tick can be at risk of a bite. Ticks cannot fly or jump. They wait for a possible host to brush against them and then use their legs to attach themselves. There are steps you can take to reduce the number of ticks in your yard:
Clear tall grass and brush
Mow the lawn frequently and rake leaves
Keep wood stacked in dry areas
Create a barrier of woodchips or gravel around recreational areas
Treat pets with anti-tick medication
Reducing your time in areas known for ticks is the best way to avoid bites and Lyme disease. Always check yourself after spending time outside.
What to Do When You Find a Tick
- If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers as soon as possible by pulling directly up.
- Clean the bite area with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
- Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet or placing it in a sealed bag.
Lyme disease can progress in many ways
- Many people get a rash that expands and looks like a “bull’s eye” anywhere from 3-30 days after a bite.
- Joint and muscle pain
Lyme disease symptoms can get worse
Bell’s palsy or other cranial nerve palsies
Diagnosis Includes Blood Test
Get checked right away if you have a concern. Call your provider if you are concerned about a tick bite and the possibility of Lyme disease. A physical exam and evaluation of possible exposure can help a provider tell if you are at risk for Lyme disease. If you develop a rash after removing a tick, be sure to contact your doctor or go to your local urgent care facility.
A Lyme disease test can test bacteria in the blood if your provider deems it necessary. Lyme disease can get worse if left untreated.
Getting Treatment Early Is Important
Antibiotics can effectively treat Lyme disease. Getting treatment early is important for a full recovery