CDPHP gives advice on detecting Lyme disease | Environment
CDPHP is urging Capital Region residents to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease. According to CDPHP, cases of the bacterial disease have been on the rise in recent years in the Capital Region.
Elizabeth Whalen, MD, MPH, medical director, CDPHP said 60 to 80 percent of people infected with the disease display a rash resembling a bulls eye or solid red patch, from two to six inches in diameter. The rash is usually not painful or itchy and it appears three to 30 days after a tick bite.
“Antibiotics are most effective when administered during this time period. Patients who are treated in this early stage of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely,” said Whalen.
Reducing exposure to ticks is the best prevention against Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends several methods to avoid being bitten by a tick.
• On People: Avoid wooded and brushy areas, repel ticks with DEET or Permethrin, and check skin and clothing for ticks as soon as possible after coming indoors. Parents should check children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and in hair.
• On Pets: Check pets daily for ticks, immediately remove ticks when found, and talk to your veterinarian about using tick repellants on your pets.
• In the Yard: Clear tall grass and brush, mow lawn frequently, keep playground equipment and lawn furniture in sunny locations and away from yard edges.
For people who suspect they have been bitten by a tick, Whalen suggests visiting a health care provider and she warns against seeking information about the disease from unreliable sources.
Credible information about Lyme disease, including photos of the Erythem Migrans rash and the proper way to remove a tick, can be found on the New York State Department of Health website.