This year we are learning that Lyme Disease carrying deer ticks are going to be out in abundance, and in turn account for one of the worst tick seasons on record. The good news is this: most tick bites don’t expose people to Lyme Disease, but deer ticks (also found on mice and other animals that roam New England) do. We thought the tick count was high last year, but if ecologists’ predictions are accurate, we haven’t seen anything yet. Because of this, we have put together your guide to Lyme Disease, and the dangers of deer ticks.
What should I do if bitten by a deer tick?
The first thing to do is to determine if it was a deer tick at all. Deer ticks are far smaller than all other types of ticks, and have distinctly black legs. If you believe that it was a deer tick that bit you, watch out for these signs as they may be early indicators of Lyme Disease:
- joint aches and pains
- a target shaped rash
- and low-grade fevers
If you or your child have been bit by a tick, treat the area with rubbing alcohol, remove it, and bring it into your doctor’s office or into one of our Danbury AFC urgent care centers right away.
It can be difficult for non-medically trained people to extract a tick, and since it is vital that you remove the entire tick, we recommended people bitten by ticks go to a facility such as an urgent care center within the first 24 hours after the initial bite to extract the tick correctly and completely.
The longer the tick remains embedded in the skin, the higher the chances of contracting Lyme Disease.
I found a tick on my pet, what do I do?
This is probably the second most frequently asked question that we get during tick season. Dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, but there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners. However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard, so it is very important to check if they have a tick on them. Protect your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of tick control products for animals and the following measures:
- Use preventative measures to avoid their getting bit by a tick. Use a veterinary prescribed or strong tick repellent spot or collar. (Make sure to pay attention to the expiration dates). Also, follow instructions and change collar as directed.
- Try and limit their access to tall grass and shrubs.
- Mow your lawn regularly.
- Make your property inhospitable to rodents (as they are carriers too) by keeping garbage and loose food contained.
- Check your pet for ticks after returning from outdoors. Common areas for ticks are in ears or around genitalia.
If you do find a tick on your pet, treat the area with rubbing alcohol and pluck the tick with tweezers, making sure you’ve gotten the biting head and other body parts. Since it may only take a few hours for disease to be transmitted from an attached tick, we advise having your pet evaluated by a veterinarian soon after any ticks are found.
We are ready to help you identify and remove ticks at our Danbury AFC urgent care centers, no appointment needed. Our providers at all three of our AFC Danbury Urgent Care Centers are well equipped for the challenges of tick season. Save time, and register online!