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Laurel Health – Get “Ticked-Off!”

by Morgan Koziar - June 16, 2016

Did you know that tick season is upon us? May through July are the months during which you and your family are at greatest risk for tick bites. Home Page correspondent, Morgan Koziar had the opportunity to chat with Laurel Health Family Practitioner, Dr. Bajwa to find out how you and your family can stay safe from ticks and prevent Lyme disease!

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infection in the United States and Europe. In this area, Lyme disease is primarily carried by the blacklegged tick (also known as the deer tick). Ticks thrive in the north eastern part of the United States—in fact, 96% of Lyme cases come from this part of the US. Caused by the bacteria Borrelia, Lyme is transmitted after a tick bites its host. According to Dr. Bajwa, “The tick needs to be attached to the individual for at least 36 hours to transmit the bacteria.” The symptoms of Lyme disease include chills, headaches, and sometimes a bullseye-shaped rash.

Dr. Bajwa further explains the “do’s and don’ts” of dealing with an attached tick. First of all: don’t panic! If you have a tick, it is important to remove it with tweezers, or a tick removing tool. Just be sure that you dig deep, get a good grip, and remove the tick’s head. What you want to avoid is crushing, burning, suffocating, or irritating the tick bite area as this can, as Dr. Bajwa says, “cause more harm and not really help you.”

Whether out in the woods, or in your backyard, you are at risk for being bitten by a tick. Mid-May through the end of July is when the probability of being bitten is the highest. It may be days, weeks, or even months after a person is bitten before he or she shows symptoms of Lyme disease. Not every tick is infected, but if bitten by tick, it is crucial to remove the tick within 36 hours to prevent the spread of Lyme disease.

To prevent tick bites, wear insect repellent when going outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, avoid tick-heavy areas, and self-examine after coming inside. If you do find a tick that you are not comfortable removing, seek medical attention.

If you would like more information on Lyme disease and protecting you and your family, consult your family doctor. Additional information and statistics can be found on the CDC website. Thank you for watching!

Credits:

Writing: N/A

Produced by Vogt Media