Prevent Lyme Disease — Keep the Ticks Away!
- Wear light-colored long sleeves, pants, and socks so it's easier to spot ticks.
- Tuck your pants into your socks.
- Wear a hat, and keep long hair pulled back.
- Stay on designated trails when hiking.
- Check yourself for ticks when you are done with your outside activities.
Whether it's hiking outdoors or just working in your yard, you are at risk for contracting Lyme disease.
Annual confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Lexington average in the low teens and have remained constant over the last few years. Lyme disease has become well established in this region, mostly due to the deer population.
Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating bacterial infection spread through the bite of an infected deer tick. Most humans are infected through the bite of immature deer ticks called nymphs.
Deer ticks often go unnoticed because of their small size — no larger than a sesame seed!
Deer ticks wait in the tall grass or bushes for a mammal to pass by so that they may hitch a ride and, at the same time, have a nourishing blood meal.
While extracting blood from the human host, a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) from the tick's internal systems is transferred. Both nymph (baby) and adult deer ticks can spread the disease.
Deer ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the deer tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.
Warning Signs of Lyme Disease
- A rash that resembles a "bulls eye"
- Aches and pains in your muscles and joints
- Fever and chills
Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, but the quicker it is recognized the better the prognosis.
If you can see any part of the deer tick remaining under your skin, call your doctor. Keep in mind that dogs are also susceptible to Lyme disease and if you have any questions or notice any change in your dog's behavior, it is best to contact your veterinarian.