Lyme Disease on the Rise in Pennsylvania

According to a report on WHYY, Local health officials say the number of Lyme disease cases in Pennsylvania this year will likely eclipse figures from 2009. Lyme disease is a an acute inflammatory ailment characterized by a rash with joint swelling and fever; caused by bacteria carried by the bite of a deer tick. It can lead to lifelong disability  including arthritis.

So, what can you do to protect yourself from infection? About.com has these recommendations:

1. Avoid tick infested areas: ticks prefer wooded and bushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter. They can also be in your lawn or garded, especially at the edges of woodlands and near older stone walls.

2. Wear appropriate clothing: wear long pants, sleeves and long socks to keep them off your skin. Also, wear light-colored clothing so that you can more easily see them if they get on you. Finally, tie back hair and wear a hat to keep them off of you.

3. Use tick repellent. Recommended is 20 to 30% DEET

4. Perform regular body checks for ticks on areas including armpits, ears, head, neck, navel area and groin.

5. If you find a tick, don’t panic. Deer ticks take 36-48 hours to begin transmitting the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. If the tick is not engorged with blood, it probably has not been there long enough.

6. If you are concerned, please check with your doctor.

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