Connecticut, as much of New England, is known as “Lyme Disease Corridor”. This time of year especially, deer ticks, the most common tick carrying lyme disease, are very common in Connecticut and are often a real threat. Knowing what to do if you get bit by a deer tick is important. 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. Deer ticks are quite small, a fraction of the size of other ticks, (see chart), but don’t let their small size fool you. Their bite can be debilitating.
What is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that is spread by tick bites. It often develops in stages, with the early stage beginning at the site of the tick bite with an expanding ring of redness. In latter stages, it can affect the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system. It can also be very hard to treat. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on the patient’s clinical signs of illness and the detection of antibodies to the causative bacteria in the blood.
What to Do if You Get Bit By a Deer Tick
- Determine if it was a deer tick. Deer ticks are by and large smaller than all other ticks.
- Watch for symptoms such as fatigue, joint aches and pains, and a target shaped rash that forms around the bite area, and low-grade fevers or chills.
- If you or your child get 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 urgent care centers.
- It can be difficult for non-medically trained people to extract the entire tick, and since it is vital that you remove the entire tick, we recommended people bitten by ticks go to a trained doctor or an urgent care center within the first 24 hours after being bit to extract the tick completely, especially here in the northeast.
The longer the tick remains embedded the higher the chances of contracting Lyme Disease.
How is Lyme Disease Treated
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, usually oral antibiotics. In general, recovery will be quicker and more complete the sooner treatment begins, during the earlier stages of the illness. If the disease has attacked the central nervous system however, often times, doctors will recommend a series of intravenous antibiotics.
Lyme disease is not to be taken lightly. It can often harbor in the system for years and can cause more debilitating conditions down the road if not treated early on.