Tick and Lyme Prevention

Spring has finally sprung and soon the flowers and trees will bloom. Along with the birds and bees, come ticks and sometimes Lyme disease. According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, this year is gonna be a doosie. A prediction of ticks and Lyme disease is on the rise, and it is important to note what to look for and how to handle a bite.

Maryland Ticked Off.org has compiled some helpful information that we would like to share with you.

Tick related facts

  • Ticks most commonly found in Maryland include the lone star tick, the American dog tick, and the black-legged tick.
  • Some ticks are tiny; smaller than a sesame seed
  • Not ALL ticks transmit disease.
  • Ticks are most active in the early fall and late spring.
  • The most common places that ticks are found include leaf piles, tall grass, wooded areas, marshy places, bushes and shrubs. Don’t forget your very own backyard!

ticksWhat to know about Lyme Disease:

  • Lyme disease is transmitter only after a tick has been attached for 24 hours.
  • A rash occurs where the tick has bitten in  70-80% of people. This is the most commonly recognized symptom of Lyme Disease, yet it is not always a present symptom.
  • When Lyme disease goes untreated, side effects such as severe headaches, joint pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, and neck pain may occur.
  • After several months without treatment, 60% of persons infected may develop serious symptoms including major joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees.
  • 5% of people untreated tend to experience shooting pain and numbing and/or tingling in the hands or feet.
  • Problems with short-term memory may occur.

To remove a tick, follow these suggestions:

Contrary to popular believe, the health department does NOT recommend removing a tick using a match, petroleum jelly, or nail polish.

  1. Cover your hands with gloves or some type of napkins should gloves not be readily available.
  2. Using tweezers, grab the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  3. Do NOT twist or yank the tick.
  4. Gently pull upward until the tick is removed. Make sure the head is out of the skin completely.
  5. Immediately clean the site of the bite with soap and water.
  6. Apply some antiseptic.
  7. Wash hands thoroughly or use and antibacterial ointment which is alcohol based.

Tick prevention

There are several  methods that can be used to help keep ticks away while enjoying the outdoors:

  • Wearing light clothing makes it easier to spot ticks
  • Tucking your shirt into pants and your pants into  socks will help keep ticks away from the skin.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when going on outdoor adventures.
  • Permethrin is a chemical used in insect repellent and maybe used on clothing. Do not apply to the skin. It is important to note that Permethrin is toxic to cats.
  • Insect spray with 20-50% DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-Toluamide) should be used.
  • Speak with your veterinarian about which tick prevention products may be used for your pets.
  • check for ticks immediately after spending time outdoors.
  • When on a trail, walk in the center while in the wood or a tall grass area.
  • Avoid brushy areas, high grass, and leafy areas.

For more information about ticks and Lyme Disease, contact the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s office of Epidemieology and Disease Control Programs. 201 West Preston Street, Baltimore, Md 21201. 1-877-4MD-DHMH


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