Ticks & Lyme Disease
Can I bring in a tick to be tested for Lyme Disease?
Yes. There is a simple form to complete when you bring in your tick and we will send it to the State Agriculture Experiment Lab for testing. You will be notified with results within two weeks.
Protect Yourself against Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a serious public health threat in Connecticut today. It was first recognized after an unusual outbreak of arthritis near Lyme, Connecticut in 1975. In 2002, Connecticut had the highest rate of Lyme disease cases of any state. Since then, reports of the disease have continued to increase. It was discovered that ticks were the source for passing the bacteria that causes the disease in humans.
When an infected tick bites a human, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause Lyme disease. The disease causes symptoms such as:
If Lyme disease is not diagnosed early, it can cause arthritis of joints, nervous system abnormalities and heart problems.
- Chills and fever, and
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- It can also cause a “bulls eye” rash 3 days to 1 month after being bitten.
There are some basic steps you can take to protect your family and yourself from the disease.
Check for Ticks and Remove Immediately
Checking the body daily for ticks and removing them immediately is the best way to avoid Lyme disease. Check pets too. If you find a tick on you, your child, or pet remove it immediately. The transmission of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease from an infected tick is unlikely to occur before 36 hours of the tick attaching to you.
To Properly Remove a Tick
The recommended way to remove a tick attached to the skin is with fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the ticks body away from the skin. Cleanse the area with antiseptic. Do not use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products-they will not be effective.
Once removed, you can then place the tick (s) in a plastic ziploc bag and bring it to the Stratford Health Department for testing. The Health Department will send the tick out for testing to determine if it had the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease. They will also notify you of the results within 2-3 weeks. You will want to also follow-up with your health care provider for appropriate treatment.
There are other basic steps you can take to help you fight the bite of ticks. They include:
Avoid those places where ticks live when possible. Ticks favor a moist, shaded environment, especially in areas with leaf litter and low-lying vegetation in wooded, brushy or overgrown grassy areas.
- Avoid tick-infested areas
- Use insect repellents and
- Wear protective clothing
- Avoid tick-infested areas
Apply insect repellent
Always wear insect repellent when going outdoors, no matter what time of the day. Applying an insect repellent will reduce your chances of being bitten by ticks and mosquitoes. There are many repellents that have been proven safe and effective. Products that contain the active ingredient called DEET (n, n-diethyl-m toluamide) are recommended. DEET can be used safely on children over the age of 2 years and adults, however children should use a product containing less than 10% of DEET. Repellents should always be applied based on directions provided on product labels. Remember that all age groups are at risk of being bitten.
Wear protective clothing
Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily and removed before becoming attached. If you are going to be in areas where you believe there may be ticks, wear long sleeved shirts and tuck pants into socks and boot tops. This will help keep ticks from reaching your skin. Ticks are usually located close to the ground, so wearing rubber boots may provide additional protection.
Following these same steps can also protect you from other tick borne diseases, such as ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, as well as protect you from other insect bites.