The number of tick-borne diseases is rising in the area, and the Mount Auburn Hospital has started a new program to educate residents about ticks and diseases they carry.
The goal of the campaign is preventing Lyme disease with early detection, and it offers a number of tips.
“We have created a multi-pronged education program. We’re targeting schools, camps, golf courses – really anyone who lives in Middlesex County is our audience. Ticks are everywhere,” said Mary Johnson, Director of Community Health at Mount Auburn Hospital.
The best way to prevent tick bites is awareness and early detection, said Trish Lemon, Infectious Disease RN and educator at Mount Auburn Hospital.
“It is important to remember the date of any tick bites and to watch for symptoms even after the removal. Symptoms of early Lyme disease include: a skin rash at the site of the bite, fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes,” Lemon said. “The rash may appear red and circular, usually within 3-14 days after the bite of an infected tick, sometimes many rashes appear, and the center of the rash may be clear, similar to a bulls-eye.”
The first tip is to avoid areas with high numbers of ticks.
Other Tips when spending time outdoors or in potential tick-infested area include:
- Wear insect repellant. A spray containing 20% DEET concentration on skin and clothes is best
- Tick insecticide, Permethrin, is also recommended. Permethrin can be sprayed on clothing and shoes, but not the skin
- Wear long sleeves/pants and light colored clothes so ticks are easily noticed
- Tuck pants into shoes and shoes into socks
- When hiking, walk in the center of trails
- After being outdoors, shower or bathe immediately, put clothes in the dryer at high temperatures to kill any possible ticks
After returning from being outdoors, the hospital recommends doing a check for ticks in the following areas:
- Inside and behind ears
- Along the hairline
- Back of the neck and knees
- Between toes
For more information on Lyme disease prevention and early detection, please call 617-499-5625.