Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks and affects humans and some domestic mammals. The disease was named after an outbreak that occurred in 1975 in children from Lyme, Connecticut.
Lyme disease is common in areas where deer ticks are abundant. The disease can cause mild to severe illness in humans, affecting the joints, heart, and nervous system. Humans with Lyme disease often develop a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye at the bite location, followed by fever, fatigue, and headaches. Humans and domestic animals can be treated successfully with antibiotics, especially when the infection is addressed early.
When spending time outdoors in tick habitats, wear long pants tucked into socks or boots, and use insect repellent. Each day spent in tick habitat should be followed by a thorough “tick check.” Ticks found on people or pets should be removed immediately and completely. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States.
Delayed or inadequate treatment can lead to more serious symptoms, which can be disabling and difficult to treat.
Embedded ticks should be entirely removed as soon as possible by using fine-tipped tweezers. Grip the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight out without twisting. Store the tick in a dry jar or a resealable plastic storage bag for further identification if needed.