It’s May and it’s tick season

11 05 2013

It’s tick season! The CDC says that from May through July is the high season for tick bites and tickborne diseases.

Nearly 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC each year, yet about 20 percent of people in areas where Lyme disease is common are unaware that it’s a risk. And, even in those areas where the disease is common, 42 percent of individuals report taking no preventive measures against ticks.

If you’re wondering about your risk, this is where 95 percent of Lyme disease cases occur in the US:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Other tickborne diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. These diseases tend to be concentrated in specific parts of the country. Check with your county health department to see what the risks are in your area.

Diseases reported to CDC by state health departments. Each dot represents one case. The county where the disease was diagnosed is not necessarily the county where the disease was acquired.

Diseases reported to CDC by state health departments. Each dot represents one case. The county where the disease was diagnosed is not necessarily the county where the disease was acquired.

Tickborne diseases can cause mild symptoms to severe infections requiring hospitalization. The most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses can include fever/chills, aches and pains, and rash. Early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications, so see your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of these symptoms.

Stay on top of prevention by following these CDC recommendations:

  • Avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter and walk in the center of trails when hiking.
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours. Parents should apply repellent to children; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends products with up to 30 percent DEET for kids. Always follow product instructions.
  • Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents or look for clothing pre-treated with permethrin.
  • Treat dogs for ticks. Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and to some tickborne diseases, and may also bring ticks into your home. Tick collars, sprays, shampoos, or monthly “top spot” medications help protect against ticks.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find crawling ticks before they bite you.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon returning from tick-infested areas. Parents should help children check thoroughly for ticks. Remove any ticks right away.

Thanks to the CDC for the info!