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Washington County Public Health - Ticks and Lyme Disease
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Contact: Public Health (518) 746-2400

What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Untreated, the disease can cause a number of health problems. Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stage of the infection usually recover rapidly and completely.

Where Is Lyme Disease Found?
In the United States, infected ticks can be found in the northeast, including New York State; in the upper Midwest; and along the northwest coast.

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
The early symptoms of Lyme disease may be mild and easily missed. If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove the tick with tweezers and watch for the symptoms of Lyme disease. In 60-80% of cases the first symptom is a rash, known as erythema migrans, that:

■ Occurs at or near the site of the tick bite.

■ Is a “bulls-eye” circular patch or solid red patch that grows larger.

■ Appears between three days and one month after the tick bite.

■ Has a diameter of two to six inches.

■ Lasts for about three to five weeks.

■ May or may not be warm to the touch.

■ Is usually not painful or itchy.

■ Sometimes multiple rashes appear

How Can I Safely Remove a Tick?
If you DO find a tick attached to your skin, do not panic. Not all ticks are infected, and your risk of Lyme disease is greatly reduced if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours.

To remove a tick:
■ Use a pair of pointed tweezers to grasp the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. DO NOT grasp the tick by the body.

■ Pull firmly and steadily outward. DO NOT jerk or twist the tick.

■ Place the tick in a small container of rubbing alcohol to kill it.

■ Clean the bite wound with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

■ Monitor the site of the bite for the next 30 days, for the appearance of a rash. If you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.

What Else Can Be Done?
■ Keep lawns mowed and edges trimmed.

■ Clear brush, leaf litter and tall grass around the house, and at the edges of gardens and stone walls.

■ Stack woodpiles neatly away from the house and preferably off the ground.

■ Clear all leaf litter (including the remains of perennials) out of the garden in the fall.

■ Keep the ground under bird feeders clean so as not to attract small animals.

■ Locate children’s swing sets and other play equipment in sunny, dry areas of the yard, away from the woods.

For more information on Lyme disease, refer to one of the links below or contact Washington County Public Health at 746-2400.

Be Tick Free - A guide for Preventing Lyme Disease Adobe pdf

Ticks & Lyme Disease (Brochure) Adobe pdf

Lyme Disease and other Tick-borne Diseases * New York State Department of Health

New York State Department of Health Tick Identification Service *


*Links to external sites are provided as a convenience.  Washington County has no control over the format or content of any information found on any external site.

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