Ticks and Lyme Disease
Posted: June 25, 2012
Photo: CDC Lyme Disease site. Relative sizes of several ticks at different life stages. In general, adult ticks are approximately the size of a sesame seed and nymphal ticks are approximately the size of a poppy seed.
Lyme disease is spread through the bite of infected ticks. The black-legged tick (or deer tick) spreads the disease in the northeastern United States. These ticks are usually found in wooded, long grass and riparian areas and have complex life cycles.
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 tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.
More information regarding Lyme disease is available in Lyme Disease: A Public Information Guide. Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny, less than 2 mm, and are difficult to see. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease bacteria, but they are larger and more likely to be discovered and removed before they transmit the bacteria. information on preventing tick bites and reducing your risk of tick-borne disease Protect Yourself From Tick-Borne Diseases.
When you are outside, please follow these tips:
- Wear protective clothing - Long pants and long sleeves. Also, light colored clothing will help you spot ticks easily.
- Use insect repellent containing DEET on skin and/or clothes.
- Keep long hair tied back.
- Perform daily tick checks. Conduct a full-body tick check using a mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas.
- Examine your gear! Ticks can ride into the office, home, or car on clothing, and then attach to a person later.
To safely remove a tick from your skin:
- Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible with tweezers.
- Pull the tick's body away from your skin.
- After removing the tick, clean the area with an antiseptic
- Contact your healthcare provider if you should develop fever, headache, fatigue or rash.