‘Tis the season … for ticks that is!
Ticks are among the most efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and may go unnoticed while feeding on their host.
Avoidance is the obvious best protection. Areas to avoid are those that are heavily wooded or have tall grasses or weeds. But if you will be in an area known to have ticks, wear long sleeve shirts and long sleeve pants. Using tick repellent sprays are also helpful. Always be sure to do a full body check when returning indoors.
Ticks should be removed using the proper procedure as soon as noticed. Consult your physician if a bull’s eye rash or generalized rash or fever develops.
More detailed information can be obtained from the following sites:
(From the Allegheny County Health Department)
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. Lyme disease cases have been reported throughout Allegheny County.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. The first symptom is usually a “bull’s eye” rash that may appear 3-to-30 days after a tick bite. Approximately 70-80% of infected persons will develop this type of rash. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, joint or muscle aches and fatigue. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics if it is identified early. If not treated early, complications such as chronic joint pain, headaches or other neurologic symptoms may develop.
Although ticks are most active in warmer months (April through October), they can emerge year-round. ACHD recommends that people take steps to reduce their chances of being bitten by ticks. Steps include using a repellent with DEET or permethrin according to the instructions given on the product label and checking one’s clothing and body for ticks after being outdoors.
There are several online educational resources for school-aged children. These include:
For more information on Lyme disease, and to view additional resources, visit: http://bit.ly/ACHDLyme. Please call 412-687-ACHD (2243) if you have any questions.