Time for a Tick Check

Do you recognize these symptoms? Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, joint aches, and a red bulls-eye like rash. These can be symptomatic of tick borne illness such as Lyme disease. 

If you work outdoors either for your job or just around the yard at home chances are good that you have already pulled a tick from yourself or a pet this year. While they are not as annoying as the mosquitoes or black flies, their bite can be more threatening to your health by transmitting bacteria which cause illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease.

The instances of Lyme disease are on the rise in the New England states. Don’t believe it’s a problem?  Just look at these numbers: 221% . . .270% . . .497%. They represent the increase in Lyme disease incidence rates between 2005 and 2009 for Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont respectively. You can check out the incident rates for all states here:  Lyme Disease Incident Rates.

Ticks don’t fly or jump, but grab hold of their hosts from blades of grass, leaves, or abundant leaf liter then climb to find suitable place to feed. The State of CT, in their publication Tick Bite Prevention, provides the following recommendations for preventing tick borne illness.

1. Wear lighter colored clothing
2. Wear long pants and tuck your pants into your socks
3. Wash and dry clothingticks can’t survive an hour in a hot dryer
4. Carefully inspect the body and remove any attached ticks
5. Carefully inspect your pets and remove ticks
6. Use repellants (see the State of CT publication on Tick Bite Prevention for a list of effective repellants)

A key step in prevention of tick borne illness, especially if you work in the woods or areas with high tick populations, is self inspection and early removal.  According to the CDC, early removal of a tick, within 24 hours of attachment, can dramatically reduce the chance of Lyme disease. 

For more tips on prevention check these resources: CDC, Stop Ticks and the American Lyme Disease Foundation.

So take a MEMIC Minute this summer and check for ticks.