“Cover up and spray before you work or play.” That is the advice of the Greenwich Health Dept, who also suggest that residents be vigilant about checking themselves, children, and pets for ticks that could carry Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, commonly known as the “deer” tick.
Ticks active during the months of June and July are in the nymph stage, with numbers of nymphs typically peaking in July.
These immature ticks are a fraction of the size of adult ticks and therefore can be difficult to see on the skin. Most cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed in late summer and fall from bites sustained unknowingly from nymphs earlier in the summer.
Adopting personal protection measures will help keep you safe from tick-borne diseases this summer. Always avoid tick habitats such as woodlands, tall grass, stone walls and leaf-covered areas, and perform frequent body checks on a daily basis. If a tick is found on the skin, carefully remove it with long-tipped tweezers and save it for testing. Try to wear light-colored clothing and long sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, and apply insect repellents containing DEET, carefully following manufacturer’s instructions. Check pets that go outside for ticks every day as they can bring ticks into the home. Apply monthly tick treatment to pets as recommended by veterinarians.
For more information about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, contact the Greenwich Department of Health Laboratory at 203-622- 7843 or visit the Department website at www.greenwichct.org.
The Laboratory tests ticks, both dead and alive, for Lyme disease and babesiosis, another tick-borne disease, on-site for a fee.