Helping to Prevent Lyme Disease Transmission
Lyme Disease is a debilitating illness that is transmitted by deer ticks. These ticks live on deer and mice and tend to be found in wooded areas. Humans may experience flu-like symptoms and a bull’s eye type rash with a white center that may appear after the bite. If you become ill with fever, headaches, chills or pain in your muscles or joints after camping or hiking in wooded areas, it is recommended that you see your physician. The long-term effects, if left untreated, can include heart, eye, respiratory and digestive issues.
Companion animals can also suffer from Lyme Disease. Symptoms in animals can include, loss of appetite, lameness, listlessness, swollen glands and joints or fever. Long-term affects of Lyme’s disease in animals include problems with the heart, liver, kidney, nervous system and eyes.
Lyme Disease is most successfully treated in humans and animals if diagnosed early. Treatment includes antibiotics under the supervision of your physician or veterinarian. Relapses and complications are possible.
The best way to protect yourself or your companion animal from contracting Lyme Disease is to avoid areas where deer ticks are found. The following additional precautions can be taken when traveling and at home to minimize the risk.
- Tuck in clothing in order to limit exposed skin.
- Wear light colored clothing to more easily spot ticks.
- Make frequent inspections for ticks on you, loved ones and companion animals.
- Heating worn clothing in the dryer for 30 minutes can kill any ticks that may remain on clothes unseen.
- Stay on trails during hikes and keep your companion leashed beside you.
- Apply repellants, but be sure to read the label carefully for ingredients that may be harmful to children or animals.
- Talk to your veterinarian about continual protection for your animal from ticks.
- If you live near wooded areas, clear away brush or vegetation from your yard that might attract deer or wild mice.
- Keep your lawn mowed and limit lawn watering.
- Don’t plant items that would attract deer.
- Brush your animal completely over a light colored surface in which ticks can be easily spotted after returning from a wooded area.
- All tick removal should be done at the site, if possible, to limit the spread of deer ticks into new areas.
- Removing ticks can be done with special removers like the Tick Twister, or a tweezer by gently pulling straight out. Avoid squeezing the tick as additional bacteria could enter the bloodstream.
You can learn more about Lyme Disease and tick identification by visiting the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/lyme.htm.