Department of Public Health
Thomas Carbone, Director of Public Health
36 Bartlet St.
Andover, MA 01810
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Andover Health Division Provides Tick Safety Information
ANDOVER — As temperatures continue to rise and ticks come out of hibernation, the Andover Health Division is providing residents with safety measures to protect themselves against tick-borne illnesses.
Although tick bites can happen year round, they are especially prevalent from April to September. Ticks hibernate in the winter, and look for a host to latch onto and lay their eggs when temperatures rise. Due to higher than average temperatures this past winter, experts are expecting a particularly bad and early onset tick season .
“We are anticipating ticks to be pretty bad this year and want to make sure that residents are taking the proper precautions to protect themselves and their families against tick related diseases,” said Andover Public Health Director Thomas Carbone. “It’s better to be safe than sorry and check yourself for ticks daily, especially if you frequently spend time outdoors.”
To prevent contact with ticks and avoid tick-borne illnesses, Andover Health recommends the following tips provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter — ticks wait in vegetation and attack from below.
- Keep a tidy yard.
- Walk in the center of trails.
- Use repellant that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin or IR3535 on exposed skin, being sure to follow product instructions.
Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be crawling on you.
- Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check areas carefully where ticks like to hide — between the toes, backs of the knees, groin, armpits, neck, along the hairline, and behind the ears.
- Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats and gear.
- If you find a tick attached to your skin, don’t panic. Use a pair of fine point tweezers to grip the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out with steady pressure.
- You should not apply kerosene, petroleum jelly, nail polish, or a hot match tip to remove the tick. These measures are not effective and may result in injury.
- Circle the calendar date and note where on the body the tick was removed. You may want to save the tick for identification.
- Your physician may choose to treat you following a deer tick bite. Notify your healthcare provider if you have been bitten by a deer tick or if you develop a rash or other signs of illness following a tick bite.
Common Symptoms of Tick-related Illnesses
If you have been bitten by a tick, the most common symptoms of tick-related illnesses are:
- Fever/chills: With all tick-borne diseases, patients can experience fever at varying degrees and time of onset.
- Aches and pains: Tick-borne disease symptoms include headache, fatigue and muscle aches. With Lyme disease, patients may also experience joint pain. The severity and time of onset of these symptoms can depend on the disease and the patient’s personal tolerance level.
- Rash: Tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease, southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia can all result in distinctive rashes.
Tick-borne diseases can result in mild symptoms to severe infections. Although treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose. Early recognition and treatment of these infections decreases the risk of serious complications. See your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of the symptoms described here.
The Andover Health Division and Friends of MHL will be sponsoring an event, “Dealing with Ticks: Protection & Prevention Strategies,” at the Memorial Hall Library, 2 North Main St., on Tuesday, June 27 at 7 p.m. The event is free, but if you would like to attend, please register here.