The Randolph Health Department wants to remind residents that we are entering into tick season; experts predict this year's tick season to be a bad one. It is important to check yourself for ticks when you are done with your outside activities. Know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease and what you can do to prevent it. To view this information in a PDF format, please click here.
April 2022 – Anyone spending time near wooded areas is at risk for contracting Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that spreads through the bite of a deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). Deer ticks wait in the tall grass or bushes for someone to pass by so that they may hitch a ride and at the same time, have a nourishing blood meal. While extracting blood from the human host, bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi), is transferred from the tick to the human. Deer ticks often go unnoticed because of their small size (no larger than a sesame seed).
Prevent Lyme disease by wearing light-colored long sleeves, pants and socks so it’s easier to spot ticks. Tuck your pants in your socks. Wear a hat and keep long hair pulled back. Stay on designated trails when hiking. Check your body for ticks after spending time outdoors.
First recognized in the mid 1970’s, Lyme disease was named after an unusual outbreak of arthritis near the Town of Lyme, Connecticut. Between 2008 and 2018, there were 36 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Randolph.
Warning signs of Lyme disease often include:
- a rash that resembles a “bull’s eye”
- aches and pains in your muscles and joints
- Fever and chills.
Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics,(Doxycycline) but the quicker it is recognized, the better the outcome. Deer ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard to see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the deer tick must be attached for thirty-six (36) to forty-eight (48) hours before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.
If you can see any part of the deer tick remaining under your skin, call your doctor. Keep in mind that dogs are also susceptible to Lyme disease. If you have any questions or notice any change in your dog’s behavior, it is best to contact your veterinarian.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I find a tick on myself or a friend?
The longer a tick remains attached to someone, the greater the chance it will be able to spread a disease-causing germ. Therefore, any attached tick should be removed as soon as possible. Using needle-nose or pointed tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Slowly pull the tick away (this takes patience and often takes several minutes – pull slowly to allow the tick to release from the skin). Once you have the deer tick, it may be placed in a jar filled with a few ounces of rubbing alcohol which will both kill the tick and preserve it for future testing by your doctor, if necessary. To avoid spreading the bacterium, do not squash the tick with your bare hands.
Should I be treated after removing an attached tick?
Although not routinely recommended, taking antibiotics, (Doxycycline) after a tick bite may be beneficial for some people. If you answer “yes” to the following questions, discuss the possibilities with your healthcare provider:
- Can the tick be identified as a deer tick?
- Was the tick attached for at least one full day?
- Has it been less than three days since you removed the tick?
Your health care provider must determine whether the advantages of prescribing antibiotics after a tick bite outweigh the disadvantages.
After I remove an attached tick, what symptoms should I look for?
Whenever someone removes a tick from their body, they should watch for the appearance of any type of rash, fever or flu-like symptoms. Immediately seek the advice of a health care provider should any symptoms occur, especially if the tick was attached for more than 24 hours.
How can I prevent diseases spread by ticks?
Ticks generally cling to plants near the ground in brushy, wooded, or grassy places. The edges of woodlands and leaf litter are high risk areas. The ticks, which cannot jump or fly, climb onto animals and people who brush against the plants.
If you cannot avoid areas likely to have ticks, the most important thing you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick is to check your entire body for ticks after returning indoors and to remove any attached tick as soon as possible. Pay particular attention to areas between the toes, back of the knee, groin, armpits, neck, along the hairline, and behind the ears. Review the MDPH Tick Identification Card to see what ticks look like.
Apply repellents that contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) or permethrin before you go outside to reduce the risk of tick bites. DEET is safe and effective in repelling ticks when used according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Choose a product that will provide sufficient protection for the amount of time you plan to spend outdoors. Product labels often indicate the length of time that someone can expect protection from a product. Repellents should not be used on children less than two months of age.
Permethrin-containing products kill ticks but are not designed to be applied to the skin. Clothing should be treated and allowed to dry in a well-ventilated area prior to wearing. Because permethrin binds very tightly to fabrics, once the fabric is dry, very little of the permethrin gets onto the skin.
You can reduce the number of ticks around your home by keeping your grass cut short and clearing brush. For more tips on preventing tick bites and reducing the number of ticks around your home, review the Town of Randolph Summer Insect Diseases: Preventing Tick Bites Fact Sheet.
Want more information?
For more information or to receive a free “tick identification card” please contact the Town of Randolph Public Health Commissioner, Gerard Cody, at 781-961-0924 or email@example.com.
The Town of Randolph Public Health Department brought this important message to you.