Lyme disease, spread to people and animals when they are bitten by an infected deer tick, is the most common tickborne disease in Massachusetts. The disease can cause serious complications if it is not recognized and treated early. Deer ticks can also carry germs that cause other diseases such as babesiosis and anaplasmosis. Although much less common, these diseases are very serious. To prevent getting diseases transmitted by ticks, you should:
- Use a repellent with DEET according to the directions on the product label
- Wear long-sleeved light colored shirts and long pants tucked into socks. This helps keep ticks off you and makes it easier to spot them.
- Consider applying a permethrin-containing repellent to your clothes according to the directions on the product label.
- Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks once a day if you have been anywhere there might be ticks. Favorite tick places are armpits, hairline, groin, legs, thighs, or in and behind the ears. Tick checks are an important way of preventing infection. Remove any attached tick you find as soon as possible with a fine point tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight out with steady pressure. Getting the tick off within 24-36 hours of its attachment is very effective in preventing infection.
- Be aware of the early symptoms of Lyme disease, such as a rash at the site of the tick bite and/or flu-like symptoms. Seek medical advice if you develop symptoms.
For more information on ticks, please visit: www.mass.gov/dph/tick