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Marylanders encouraged to practice these steps throughout tick season

5/26/2017, 6 a.m.
Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed May Tick-borne Disease Awareness Month.
To learn more about how to protect yourself, family members and pets from tick-borne diseases, visit the Health and Mental Hygiene website: dhmh.maryland.gov/tick. Courtesy Photo/CDC

— Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed May Tick-borne Disease Awareness Month.

Lyme disease is the most well-known tickborne disease but ticks also transmit diseases such as babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia. Spring is the start of tick season but Marylanders should continue to check for ticks after outdoor activities through the fall.

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in Maryland. In 2015, the latest year that complete data is available, more than 1,700 cases of Lyme disease were reported in the State. Symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash (which might look like a bull’s eye), fever, headache and fatigue. If left untreated, the disease may spread to the joints and nervous system. Contact your healthcare provider if any of these symptoms develop after a known tick bite or after spending time in a tick habitat. Most cases can be cured with antibiotics.

The best way to avoid tick-borne diseases is to avoid ticks and their habitat. Ticks are found outdoors in the leaf litter, weeds, tall grasses, shrubs, and woods, preferring humid environments. To prevent tick exposure and tick bites:

use insect repellents such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus; perform a tick check on yourself, children and pets after being outside in tick habitat; wear light colored clothing so you can spot ticks more easily; wear long pants and sleeves to keep ticks off of your body; when hiking, stick to the path and avoid the brushy areas and tall grasses where ticks are more likely to be present; Within two hours of being outside, shower to wash away unattached ticks on your body and dry your clothes on high for six minutes to kill ticks; and discuss ways to protect your pets from ticks with your veterinarian.

To learn more about how to protect yourself, family members and pets from tick-borne diseases, visit the Health and Mental Hygiene website: dhmh.maryland.gov/tick.