Predictions are: because of another warm winter, we will see an early and abundant tick season. And we are. The black-legged tick, commonly known as deer ticks, and associated with Lyme Disease are back with a vengeance throughout Connecticut and the northeast. With the COVID-19 pandemic driving us stir crazy inside, many of us are looking at outdoor activities as a way to manage stress. However, if you’re outside hiking or just walking around in your backyard, chances are you might expose yourself to ticks and Lyme disease. Another health threat. We know.
AFC Urgent Care New Britain is well aware of the dangers of ticks and Lyme disease in 2021. We’ve put together a guide for you to safely social distance yourselves from ticks and hopefully Lyme Disease this season.
What exactly is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is spread to humans by ticks. Ticks (parasites) survive by finding a host (another animal) and feeding on the host’s blood. While not all ticks carry Lyme Disease, in New England, the deer tick can transmit the bacterial infection to other animals including humans. This is why Northeasterners associate Lyme Disease with deer ticks.
How Do I Know if I am at risk for Lyme Disease?
Of course, the surest way to know if you’re at risk is to be tested. There are definite symptoms of Lyme Disease such as:
- joint aches and pains
- a target shaped rash
- low-grade fevers or chills
Many of these symptoms can be interchangeable with other medical issues, but if and when a bulls-eye rash appears near or around the site of the tick bite, that is a sure sign. It’s vital to get to a doctor or one of our walk in urgent care centers during the “incubation” time which takes place 24-48 hours from the event of the bite. The longer you wait to get tested or treated, the higher the risk is for contracting Lyme Disease.
Don’t wait, get checked today.
How can I avoid being bitten by a Deer Tick?
Ideally, of course, we want to avoid being bitten by a deer tick, or any tick for that matter. Luckily, there are steps we can take which begins with the kind of bug repellent you use:
- Use an insect repellent containing the ingredient Deet.
You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through vegetation such as leaves (on trees or on the ground) or shrubs, as black-legged ticks live primarily in moist and humid environments. For the most part they inhabit wooded or high grassy areas.
- To avoid deer ticks and ticks of all kinds, walk in the center of trails and avoid tall vegetation. Wear socks and pants whenever possible.
- Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard.
Use a mirror to view all parts of your body. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- Behind the ears
- In the scalp
- Inside the belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around all body hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
Be sure to check your clothing and pets for ticks because ticks may be carried into the house. Both should be examined carefully, and any ticks that are found should be removed.
Here’s a cool tip: Did you know that placing your clothes into a dryer on high heat effectively kills ticks?
Get tick-free at AFC Urgent Care New Britain
With precautions, this season can be spent tick-free to allow you to resume social distancing outdoors.
Need a tick removed? We do that too. For more information or any questions feel free to give us a call at 860-357-6899. We can assess tick bite wounds and can provide you with the next steps for treatment. Lastly, you can always stop by our New Britain AFC urgent care center where we have professionals available 7 days a week where no appointment is needed.