Thursday, May 18, 2017

DCNR: Protecting Yourself From Lyme Disease With These Tick Tips

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. During this month and throughout the year, it’s critical that you protect yourself by learning about the disease and ways to prevent it -- especially in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has the highest number of reported Lyme disease cases in the United States. Deer ticks -- the main carriers of the disease -- are found in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.
Here’s some information to help you protect yourself while enjoying the outdoors.
Check Yourself Thoroughly
While you can contract Lyme disease any time of the year, spring through mid-summer is the most dangerous time because deer ticks are in their nymph stage and are about the size of a poppy seed, making them difficult to find on your body.
The best way to enjoy the outdoors and protect yourself from the disease is to check yourself thoroughly for ticks right after coming inside from the outdoors.
It takes about seven hours for deer ticks to find soft tissue on your body, such as your scalp, armpits, and groin, and burrow into your skin, so check yourself immediately after being outside.
What to Do If You Find a Tick Embedded in Your Skin
If you have a tick embedded in your skin, you will want to properly remove it to reduce your exposure to Lyme disease.
You can do this by grabbing it by the head, and pulling straight up and out with a pair of tweezers. Twisting, covering with petroleum jelly, or using detergent or water will only agitate the tick and can further expose you to the disease.
Learn more about safely removing ticks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
If you know you’ve had a tick bite, look for symptoms of Lyme disease, including fever, rash, paralysis, and arthritis.
It could take one to two weeks to show signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, and four to eight weeks to test positive for the disease.
How to Reduce Your Chances of Contracting Lyme Disease
While outdoors, you can take steps to reduce your chances of contracting the disease:
-- Wear light colored clothing to more easily spot ticks on you
-- Wear long sleeved shirts and full length pants, if the weather allows, and tuck your pants into your socks to make it more difficult for ticks to find your skin
-- Walk in the center of trails, and avoid brushing up against plants and grasses
The key prevention tip: Always check yourself, children, and pets for ticks after being outside!
For more information about Lyme disease, see the CDC’s resources and the Department of Health’s information.
For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here for upcoming events.  Click Here to be part of DCNR’s Online Community,  Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
(Reprinted from the May 17 edition of DCNR’s Resource newsletter. Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

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