Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today reminded Pennsylvanians that that they should take the proper precautions to protect themselves against Lyme disease as the summer outdoor season begins. Today the Secretary and PA Department of Health launched the “Don’t Let a Tick Make You Sick” campaign at the Trails and Trees Environmental Center of the Mechanicsburg Area School District.
“As Pennsylvanians enjoy the summer weather outdoors, they should be mindful that being outdoors increases the potential for tick exposure,” said Murphy. “We want everyone to understand that they can have fun and enjoy this warm weather while also staying safe from the dangers of Lyme disease.”
Lyme disease is a chronic illness transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged or deer tick. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and joint pain. An early symptom is a red rash that looks like a bulls-eye.
Ticks can be found everywhere, but individuals should be especially cautious in areas with dense bushes or tall grass. When outdoors use repellents and protective clothing. After outdoor activities, check for ticks and, if one is found, promptly remove it.
“Children who have been playing outside should be checked for ticks by their parents or guardians,” said Acting Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine. “If you do find a tick on your body or your child’s body, we recommend that you remove the tick carefully with a set of fine tipped tweezers. Showering within two hours of outdoor exposure may also help prevent transmission.”
Pennsylvania leads the nation in reported cases of Lyme disease and a recent study found that for the first time blacklegged ticks were found in all 67 counties. Lyme disease can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. The Department of Health recommends prompt treatment as early diagnosis can prevent late-stage complications.