Reported cases of Lyme Disease are dramatically increasing in Chester County. Looking at past years:
FIVE STEPS TO TAKE TO MINIMIZE
OF LYME DISEASE
1. Understand What Causes Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease is transmitted to people and pets by the deer (ixodes) tick.
These ticks are found in vegetation and on animals in grasslands, marshlands, and woodland habitats. Though more prevalent during the warmer months, Lyme Disease can occur in any season.
2. Avoid Getting Deer Ticks On Your Skin.
When you are in high risk areas:
- Use bug repellant on skin and clothing. Ask your pharmacist for recommended sprays.
- Put repellant collars on your pets.
- Wear long pants with cuffs tucked into socks. Light colored clothing will help you detect ticks.
- If gardening, wear long sleeved shirts with tight cuffs.
- br /ush off clothing and pets before entering the house.
3. Examine Your Skin For Deer Ticks.
Spotting deer ticks is difficult because the adult is about the size of a pinhead. But in many cases you can locate ticks if you:
- Undress and check for ticks. Ticks usually crawl about for several hours before biting.
- Be sure to check hidden areas like the hairline, navel, groin, underarm and the nape of the neck.
Although you usually won't feel tick bites, blood engorged ticks are easier to spot.
If you find a tick, time is on your side. Experts believe Lyme Disease is transmitted only after many hours of feeding.
Remove attached ticks with fine tweezers by gently, repeatedly and patiently tugging at the point where their mouths enter the skin. Save ticks in a sealed jar of alcohol.
4. Recognize The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease.
Diagnosis is sometimes difficult.
- Early signs of Lyme Disease include a rash (frequently in the shape of a bull's eye) which may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, or body aches. Lyme Disease may not be easily diagnosed because up to 40 % of those people infected may not get the "bull's eye" rash. If left untreated, Lyme Disease can lead to serious joint and neurological conditions.
- Perhaps the best chance of discovery is the rash. However, about one-fourth of the victims of Lyme Disease do not get this rash.
5. Seek Treatment.
If you should have any of these symptoms, see your doctor. The earlier diagnosed, the easier to treat.
There is a vaccine that has proven to be safe and effective in preventing Lyme Disease. If you believe that you may be at risk for Lyme Disease, consult with your physician.