Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 7:52am
Lyme Disease Prevention is a Simple Mix of Attention & Protection
Recent data analysis by Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC) shows a marked increase in cases of Lyme disease in Dane County between April and June. Between April and May, the reported cases went from 4 to 8. By June, there were 35 reported cases. While increases between May and June are normal, last June there were only 17 cases reported, making the current jump somewhat more significant.
The good news is that there are a few basics steps you can take to minimize your risk of exposure. Exposure comes in the form of the bite of a 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 these steps will help reduce the risk of a tick bite:
• Wear long pants and long sleeves when picnicking or walking in tall grasses or forests
• Always use an effective insect 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) it is important to know that the tick has to be attached for 24 hours to transmit the disease, so these timely 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.
The symptoms of Lyme disease can be fever, headache, chills, pain in the muscles or joints, enlarged lymph nodes, or facial paralysis. A "bull's eye" rash often appears at the bite area between 3 and 30 days after a bite. 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 detailed 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:
Public Health Madison & Dane County
- Jeff Golden, (608) 243-0302