Take steps to prevent lyme disease this summer

Posted by Nina Hamza, MD, Ridgeview Clinics on Jun 19, 2019 1:30:00 PM

Lyme disease comes from deer ticks

The return of summer has Minnesotans heading to outdoor adventures and spending time in the fields and woods. Exploring is exactly what everyone needs after a long winter. However, make sure you take precautions because this is tick season and they are plentiful this year.

Lyme disease is transmitted by the deer tick. As Minnesotans, we should learn to identify them.

Like most things in life, prevention is almost always better than cure so try to remember the following:

  • Avoid wooded and brush areas with high grass if possible.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Wear light-colored clothing that includes long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats. Tuck your pants into your socks to keep those ticks out.
  • Do a full body check, especially those hard-to-reach areas like the groin, armpits and scalp. Now is the time to get up close and personal.
  • If you can, take a shower within two hours of coming inside. This helps find those ticks.
  • Examine your gear and your pets.

You've found a tick, now what?

Okay, so you found a tick on your body. What now? Well, for goodness sake, get it off! Use a fine-tipped tweezers to get as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or turn. If you can’t get the mouth parts out, leave it alone. Clean the bite area.

Don’t try to burn it off. Don’t try petroleum jelly. Don’t try nail polish.

After you've removed the tick, watch for symptoms over the next month. It’s normal for a small insect bite–looking lesion to appear at the site in the first day. A tick has to be on the body for at least 24 hours to cause infection, and the longer it’s attached, the higher the chance of infection.

Look for a rash to develop at the site within 3–30 days. The typical rash looks like a bull’s eye. If you develop this rash or flu-like symptoms, go see your doctor. In some cases your doctor may treat you just for finding a tick on your body. The earlier the treatment, the easier to treat.

So go out and enjoy the spacious skies, drink in the amber waves of grain, be awe struck by purple mountain majesties.

And then check for ticks.

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Ridgeview Medical Center is an independent, nonprofit, regional health care system located just 35 minutes west of Minneapolis on Highway 5. Its network includes three hospitals—located in Waconia, Arlington and Le Sueur—a multitude of primary and specialty care clinics, emergency services and specialty programs, and Two Twelve Medical Center in Chaska—a free-standing 24/7 emergency and urgent care facility with multi-specialty clinics and services.

Topics: Primary Care

Medical and health information presented here is intended to be general in nature, and should not be viewed as a substitute for professional advice. Please consult with a health care professional for all matters relating to personal medical and health care issues. In case of an emergency, please call 911. 

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