Don't Let a Tick Ruin your Summer

Thursday, July 2, 2009 - 8:27am

Paying Attention can Help Prevent Lyme Disease

The onset of beautiful summer weather brings many of us outdoors to enjoy all the abundant recreational opportunities in our area. Unfortunately, summer weather also can expose us to some of the health risks that arrive with the season. One of those risks comes in the form of the deer tick - a very small, hard to see bug that is all too common everywhere in Wisconsin. These poppy seed sized ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, which can be serious if undetected and untreated.

Following are some useful facts and advice about avoiding tick bites and Lyme disease:
• Wear long pants and long sleeves when picnicking or walking in tall grasses or forests
• Always use an effective repellant
• Always check yourself, or have a family member check you for ticks after being outdoors, paying special attention to the head, scalp, armpit, groin and area behind the knee (don't forget to check your pets as well) Remember that the tick has to be attached for 24 hours to transmit the disease, so these checks are really important
• If you do find a tick, use thin bladed tweezers to slowly remove it. Folk remedies like petroleum jelly, nail polish remover or burning matches DO NOT WORK, and are not safe.
• A "bull's eye" rash often appears at the bite area between 3 and 30 days after a bite.
• The symptoms of Lyme Disease can be fever, headache, chills, pain in the muscles or joints, enlarged lymph nodes, or facial paralysis. The disease is treatable with antibiotics and should be treated as soon as possible.
• Consult a physician as soon as possible if
o the tick has been attached for 24 or more hours
o tick removal is incomplete
o you experience the rash or any of the other symptoms of Lyme Disease

For more information about deer ticks and Lyme Disease, see the following websites:

The Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/index.htm

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services:
http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/factsheets/LymeDisease.htm

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Contacts: 
  • Jeff Golden, (608) 243-0302