Lyme Disease cases have been on the rise in our area. Mid-Ohio Health Department wants to make sure as you enjoy the outdoors that you are protecting yourself from Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by deer ticks. The ticks are small, about the size of a poppy seed, so they are more difficult to spot than the common wood tick.
If you spend time in a wooded, grassy, or bushy area check yourself to ensure a tick is not attached to your body. Wearing light-colored clothing and bathing within two hours after being outdoors will make it easier to see if a tick is on your body. Using insect repellent containing 20-30% DEET will also help repel ticks.
If a tick is found, carefully remove it with a tweezer. It may be helpful to dab a little dish detergent on the tick which seems to make it release easier. A tick must be attached for 24 hours before Lyme disease can occur so checking for ticks can reduce the chances of contracting the disease.
Not all patients diagnosed with Lyme disease find the tick on their body. One of the early signs of Lyme disease is a “bulls-eye” rash. This rash appears to look like a “bulls-eye” with a red center and a red ring around the red center. This rash may be itchy and warm to the touch. If you develop this type of rash, seek medical attention. It is important to realize that not all will have a bulls-eye rash. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. Most patients have a full recovery. Symptoms usually appear from three to 30 days after being bitten. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that some people will continue to have symptoms after treatment.
Dogs are also prone to Lyme disease. Inspect your pet after they have spent time outdoors. If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately. Check furniture that your pet may frequent to make sure that a tick does not drop off of them and attach to you later. Some flea medications also protect animals from ticks as well. Horses and sometimes cattle can get Lyme disease. Symptoms usually present as lameness or stiffness, although most horses and cattle do not display any symptoms.