May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

MOVHD urges residents to prevent tick-borne diseases

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and as the weather changes, more ticks will be coming out in our area. West Virginia has had a high rate of Lyme disease since 2017. The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department urges residents to take steps to prevent tick bites and their diseases.

While Lyme disease is the most often reported tick-related disease in the state, others such as anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever have also been reported.

If you are going camping or hiking, make sure to: 

  • treat clothing, boots and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. 
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, Para-Menthane-Diol or 2-undecanone, and follow the product’s instructions. 
  • Try to avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaves, and walk in the center of trails.

Spending any time outside can put residents in the path of ticks, for people as well as pets. After coming back inside, make sure to do a full body check. Check:

  • Under the arms
  • In/around ears
  • Inside belly button
  • Back of knees
  • in/around hair
  • Between legs
  • Around waist

Take a shower and wash and dry the clothes worn outside on high heat.

On pets, you should check:

  • in/around ears
  • Around tail
  • Around eyelids
  • Under collar
  • Under front legs
  • Between toes
  • Between back legs

Talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention products for dogs. Cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals, so talk to your veterinarian before applying any kind of tick prevention products to them.

The CDC gives tips on how to remove a tick. You should:

  • Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp tick as close to skin as possible
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure (do not twist/jerk)
  • After removal, clean the area and your hands with soap and water
  • Do not crush tick with fingers – dispose of it by:
    • Putting it in alcohol
    • Putting it in a sealed bag
    • Wrapping it tightly in tape
    • Flushing down toilet

Infections from tick bites can cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches/pain
  • Rash

If you get a tick bite and show symptoms within a few weeks, contact your healthcare provider.