WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Common early signs of Lyme disease include one or more bulls-eye rashes anywhere on the body, joint pain, chills, fever, fatigue, and headache. When it comes to West Nile virus, symptoms could include fever, headache, and loss of appetite, or in more severe cases confusion and increasing weakness, although in 80 percent of cases, people may display little to no symptoms at all.
Conduct a daily check for ticks: A black-legged deer tick, the type of tick known for carrying Lyme disease, takes at least 24 hours to transmit the disease. That’s why performing a daily, thorough check for ticks after spending time outdoors is essential in preventing the transmission of the disease. Just as important is knowing what to look for – and what to do if a tick is found. Blacklegged deer tick nymphs are typically around the size and color of a poppy seed, and if found should be removed right away using fine-tipped tweezers. Once removed, clean the area with soap, water and an antiseptic.
Protect Your Skin: While it may be uncomfortable when temperatures soar, wearing long sleeves and pants in light colors can protect against tick bites and can make checking for these pests much easier. Consider tucking pants into socks or investing in clothing pretreated with permethrin for an extra level of protection.
Protect Your Pets: Avoid walking pets in tall grass where there is a greater chance of ticks hitching a ride and check pets frequently for ticks, especially after the animal has been outside. Consult with a veterinarian about prevention and treatment options available to pets and wash pet bedding and toys frequently.