Lyme disease is spread by infected deer (or bear or black-legged) ticks through contact with your skin when they attach themselves to you. Ticks cannot jump or fly and are mostly found in grassy, busy or wooded areas. Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, memory loss, severe headache, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Pets are also at risk.
Tips to help prevent a tick bite
- Use insect repellent with 20 percent to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin.
- Use repellent containing permethrin on clothing, shoes and camping gear (do not apply to skin).
- Take a shower as soon as you can after working or playing outdoors.
- Look for ticks on your body. Ticks attach anywhere, but they like body creases such as armpits, groin, backs of the knees and nape of the neck.
What to do if you get a tick bite
- Remove ticks immediately from your skin. Learn the proper way to remove a tick.
- Be on the lookout for symptoms of Lyme disease: any type of rash, fever, muscle aches or fatigue. It can take two to 32 days for symptoms to appear.
- Contact your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms.
Lyme disease treatment
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. Early treatment with oral antibiotics almost always cures Lyme disease. Prevention and early detection are key!
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Lyme Disease Foundation, WebMD and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.