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Published on July 20, 2017

4 Steps to Prevent Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

4 Steps to Prevent Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

According to the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services, Tick borne illness is on the rise in North Carolina. There has been an uptick in cases of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The diseases are caused by a bacterium transferred to humans who are bitten by infected deer or black legged ticks. These ticks are increasing in population and have been reported in 60 counties.

Typical symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash. Symptoms are usually treated using antibiotics. If these diseases are left untreated, it can spread to the joints, the heart and the nervous system causing chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain and cognitive impairment, which involve problems with memory, language and thinking.

You can decrease the chance of you or your children catching tick borne illnesses by:

  1. Avoiding places where ticks reside. Ticks live in wooded and brushy areas where there is tall grass and dead leaves. If you are going to be working or playing in this type of area, wear long pants, long sleeves, a hat and keep your feet covered. If you are hiking, stay in the middle of the trail.
  2. Removing ticks promptly. Take a bath or shower after coming indoors to wash off unlatched ticks and search for any ticks that may be attached. Carefully check under the arms, around the ears, in the belly button, behind the knees, around the waist and in the hair.
  3. Examining any equipment and pets that have been outdoors. Place any clothing worn in a tick infested area in a hot dryer for at least 10 minutes to kill ticks that may be on the garments.
  4. Using insect repellant with at least 20 percent DEET or picardin on exposed skin. Treat clothing with a product that contains at least 0.5 percent permethrin. This will deter ticks from hitching a ride on your clothes. It should be effective for several washings.

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