July 1, 2005
County Residents Should Be on Look-Out for Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Now that school is out, families are planning camping trips, picnics, hikes, and many other outdoor activities. Oswego County Health Commissioner Kathleen Smith reminds residents that the risk of exposure to Lyme disease increases when people spend more time outdoors.
Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. In tick-prone areas, any contact with vegetation, even playing in the yard, can result in exposure to ticks, said Smith.
Deer ticks have been found in Oswego County. According to the New York State Department of Health, the risk of Lyme disease is present throughout New York State.
Lyme disease can have serious complications if it is not identified and treated early. The most noticeable early sign of Lyme disease is a rash resembling a bull's-eye, or solid patch, which usually, but not always, develops between 3 and 30 days after the tick bite.
The rash often expands over time and can last for several weeks. In some cases, no rash appears, while in other cases, there are multiple rashes. The rash does not normally itch or feel painful.
Other symptoms of early Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache, stiff neck, muscle aches and joint pain. "If you notice these signs or symptoms, consult a health care provider immediately," advises Smith.
The following precautions are recommended to help avoid tick bites:
Tick repellents contain the active ingredients DEET, permethrin, or botanical oils. Be sure to always read and carefully follow the instructions on the product label before using repellents.
Record the date and location of the tick bite. If a rash or flu-like symptoms appear, contact your health care provider immediately.
To learn more about Lyme disease, call the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564, or visit the New York State Department of Health's Web site at www.health.state.ny.us.
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