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5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Tick-borne Illnesses

August 12, 2022

Pennsylvania continues to lead the way for Lyme disease cases, and the summer months pose the largest threat for tick-borne illnesses.

As you head out to enjoy the outdoors, it’s critical to take the proper precautions to reduce your chances of being bitten by ticks. It’s estimated about 476,000 people may get Lyme disease each year in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Earlier this year, state officials also warned Pennsylvanians about the “rare but dangerous” Deer Tick Virus that had been spotted at high levels in some regions of the state and the concern about tick-borne illnesses continues.

"Ticks that cause Lyme disease are found in every county and every green space, even in cities, which is why it is so important to know the proper steps to take, even at a young age, to avoid getting a tick bite,” Dr. Wendy Braund, deputy secretary for health preparedness and community protection, said recently.

As we approach the end of the summer, here are few important reminders to stay safe outdoors:

  • Cover exposed skin with lightweight and light-colored clothing.
  • Avoid tick-infested habitats (dense areas with shrubbery or tall grass).
  • Use an insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Once inside, immediately check yourself, children, and pets.
  • Take a shower immediately to remove ticks that may be crawling on skin. If possible, place clothing and gear in a dryer to kill any ticks.

Lyme disease symptoms include fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. A bullseye-like rash also is common but may not always appear. If you have symptoms for a tick-borne disease, contact your health care provider immediately.

HAP joins organizations throughout the state raising awareness about Lyme disease and urging Pennsylvanians to take precautions against tick-borne illnesses this summer.

Information about Lyme diseaseanaplasmosis, and Powassan virus is available online from the CDC. Resources for health care providers also are available.

 



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