AUGUSTA – May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Maine and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is reminding Mainers to take precautions against ticks and tick-borne diseases. Deer ticks can carry germs that cause tick-borne diseases such as Lyme, anaplasmosis and babesiosis and are most commonly found in wooded, leafy and shrubby areas—meaning that most Mainers are at risk every day.
The majority of Maine counties saw an increase in Lyme disease between 2016 and 2017. With this in mind as the tick season begins, it is important for individuals to take the proper steps to limit their exposure to ticks. The Maine CDC is working to provide people with the information they need to stay disease-free. Using the following four strategies will help you prevent exposure to ticks and the diseases they carry:
- Use an EPA-approved repellant.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Perform daily tick checks.
- Use caution in tick-infested areas.
Providers reported more than 1,800 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases to the Maine CDC in 2017. The most commonly reported symptom was an erythema migrans or a “bullseye” rash. Other common symptoms include arthritis, fatigue, chills, fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes.
“To prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, the best protection is to avoid contact with ticks,” said Dr. Bruce Bates, Director of the Maine CDC. “If you do find yourself working, playing, or relaxing in areas that may have ticks, wear light colored clothing and long sleeves, use an EPA approved repellant and perform a daily tick check.”
The Maine CDC is also continuing its efforts to help educate Mainers on ticks and tick-borne diseases by offering educational videos and classroom education materials. The Maine CDC’s social media pages will also be providing updates throughout the month with helpful information regarding ticks and tick-borne diseases.
For more information on Lyme Disease and Lyme Disease Awareness Month visit: www.maine.gov/lyme