Ticks and Lyme Disease Protection - Canandaigua VA Medical Center
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Canandaigua VA Medical Center

 

Ticks and Lyme Disease Protection

Tick sitting on arm of person

The tick that causes Lyme disease is the Blacklegged Deer Tick. Learn ways to protect yourself from Lyme disease here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ticks and Lyme Disease Protection

Lyme disease is common in the Finger Lakes region and can result from a Tick bite.

Ticks are usually harmless, unless the tick is infected.  The tick that causes Lyme disease is the Blacklegged Deer Tick.  It is the size of the head of a pin and usually lives on deer. 

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdor-feri). Certain ticks carry these bacteria. The ticks pick up the bacteria when they bite mice or deer that are infected with Lyme disease.

Ways to protect yourself from ticks:

  • Apply insect repellant.  Use a repellant that contains DEET to exposed skin.  Remember to read the product’s instructions before use.
  • Ticks like wooded, areas with high grass and areas with lots of leaf litter.  Avoid these areas if possible. 
  • If you are going to be in wooded areas, wear long-pants, long-sleeves and socks. 
  • Tuck in your clothing: pants into socks and shirts into pants. This will help to keep ticks on the outside of clothing.
  • Stay in the middle of trails to avoid contact with high grass, bushes and leaf litter.
  • Ticks are most active in May, June and July. Take extra care during these months.
  • Remove outer clothing before coming indoors.
  • Check yourself daily for the presence of ticks.
  • If you find a tick, remove it using tweezers.
  • Cleanse the area where the tick was with an antiseptic.

Generally, a tick needs to be on the skin for about 36 hours or more for it to spread Lyme disease.

The first symptoms resemble the flu such as: chills, fever, headache, lethargy and muscle pain. There may also be a "bull's eye" rash and a flat or slightly raised red spot at the site of the tick bite. Often there is a clear area in the center. It can be larger than 1-3 inches wide. Symptoms can appear between 3-30 days of the bite.

Notify your primary care provider if you develop these symptoms. There is a blood test available that confirm Lyme disease. Visit here for more information.

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