Summer is upon us and, with it, the renewed threat of Lyme and other disease carrying ticks. A mild winter combined with a relatively dry spring has experts predicting an especially severe tick season in New Hampshire, which consistently has one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the nation. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services has called tick-borne disease a serious public health threat, specifically citing children 5-14 years old as an important audience for educational outreach in its Tickborne Disease Prevention Plan.
This summer, Catholic Medical Center (CMC) will again offer colorful snap bracelets and informational cards to patients at our Primary Care Practices, Urgent Care, and the Hospital. These free children’s snap bracelets, called a “tick watch”, feature actual size depictions of ticks to the public. The bracelets include two types of ticks to check for during nightly scans—the blacklegged tick and the American dog tick. The blacklegged tick, also called the deer tick, can transmit several illnesses to humans including Lyme disease.
We caution families to really think about ticks this summer and take the necessary precautions to avoid complications like Lyme disease,” explains Joseph Mangum, a Physician Assistant at CMC Urgent Care in Bedford. “Don’t spend the summer on the couch, but recognize that the tick population is exploding in our state, so you have to be vigilant.”
A few simple steps to stay tick free this summer:
- Avoid thick bushes and long grass, popular homes for ticks
- Use repellant, preferably 20%-30% DEET
- Check yourself before the ticks can get hold of you
- Remove and properly dispose of any tick you find on your body
- Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your practitioner or schedule a visit to Urgent Care if you’re concerned about a bite, especially if you see a bulls-eye rash or start feeling fatigue or sick
The longer the tick has been on the host, the higher the risk of infection, especially after 36 hours. Antibiotics can be prescribed to help reduce the risk of tick-borne illness, if the bite is evaluated inside of 72 hours. Primary Care or Urgent Care provider can do that evaluation. For more information, visit catholicmedicalcenter.org/urgent-care/tick-awareness.aspx