BHSJ CHA is Monitoring Cases of Lyme Disease
Friday April 28, 2023
The Branch Hillsdale St. Joseph Community Health Agency has received reports of cases of Lyme Disease within the jurisdiction
The arrival of spring and the warmer temperatures we experienced in March and early April cause ticks to become more active. Ticks will remain active until Fall when temperatures are consistently below 40 degrees. A bite from an infected tick can transmit several diseases, including the bacterial infection Lyme disease, the most commonly-reported tick-borne disease.
"As residents return to outdoor activities, it's important to take precautions and protect against bites from infected ticks," said Rebecca Burns, Health Officer. "The best way to prevent tick-borne disease is to follow simple steps to avoid being bitten. Your Local Health Department is actively monitoring the jurisdiction’s tick population through our Vector Surveillance program. This information is used to better understand the tick population, tick behavior, and regional trends in diseases carried by ticks."
The best way to prevent tick bites, especially when spending time in wooded or grassy areas, is to:
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, light colors will show the ticks easier than dark.
- Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.
- Check for ticks on you and your pet often while outdoors and brush them away before they attach.
- Perform a full body check multiple times during the day, as well as at the end of the day, to ensure that no ticks are attached.
- Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed.
- Shower soon after coming indoors.
- Consider using repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, and follow label instructions.
- Use flea and tick preventative medications on pets.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by infected black legged (deer) ticks (both nymphs and adults), which are most active when temperatures are above freezing. Lyme disease can affect people and pets of any age. It is spread when an infected tick bites a person or pet and remains attached for 36 hours or more. Lyme disease can cause serious illness and debilitating symptoms.
The most common symptoms of Lyme disease are:
- An expanding rash resembling a bull's eye or solid patch, that appears near the site of a bite.
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever or chills and muscle aches
- Headache, or fatigue may also occur within 30 days of infection.
If these symptoms develop, it's important to seek treatment from a health care provider immediately.
If a tick is found on the body, it should be removed immediately:
- It is preferable to use a fine point tweezers.
- Grasp the tick as close as possible to its attachment to the skin
- Remove by pulling upward with steady, even pressure.
- DO NOT squeeze the body of the tick.
- Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- If the tick's mouthparts break off and remain in the skin, they can be left alone to dry up and fall out by themselves, as the mouth parts alone cannot transmit disease.
The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is committed to promoting wellness, preventing disease, providing health care, and protecting the environment.