This year we are learning that Lyme disease carrying deer ticks are expected to be one of the worst tick seasons on record. The good news is this: most tick bites don’t expose people to Lyme Disease, but deer ticks ( also found on mice and other animals that roam New England) do. We thought the tick count was high in 2016, but if ecologists’ predictions are accurate, we haven’t seen anything yet. According to NPR, 2017 is showing all the signs of being an explosive year for the tick population in the Northeastern US. How do they know? Mice.

The population of Lyme-carrying mice (not deer, as is widely assumed) is a prime indicator of how large the tick population, and corresponding number of Lyme disease cases, will be the following year. In 2016, there was basically a mice plague in the Northeast, spelling trouble for the 2017 tick forecast.
And so here we are, wanting to know how to protect ourselves and our kids from getting bitten by a deer tick, and what to do if that tick gets away with it and bites us.

 What Steps to Take if  Bitten by a Deer Tick

Step one is to determine if it was a deer tick at all. Deer ticks are by and large smaller than all other types of ticks. deer-tick-afc-urgent-care-danbury

  • Watch for symptoms such as fatigue
  • joint aches and pains
  • a target shaped rash
  • and low-grade fevers or chills.

If you or your child get bit by a tick,  treat the area with rubbing alcohol,  remove it and bring it into your doctor’s office or into one of our Danbury AFC urgent care centers.

It can be  difficult for  non-medically trained people to extract a tick, and since it is vital that you remove the entire tick, we recommended people bitten by ticks go to a facility such as an urgent care center within the first 24 hours after being bit to extract the tick completely.

The longer the tick remains embedded the higher the chances of contracting Lyme Disease.

The next most asked question we get about ticks is this:

What do I do if I find a tick on my pet?

Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners. However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of tick control products for animals and the following measures.

  • Use preventative measures to avoid their getting bit by a tick. Use a veterinary prescribed or strong tick repellant spot or collar. Pay attention to the expiration dates. Make sure to follow instructions and change collar as directed.
  • Try and limit their access to tall grass and shrubs.
  • Mow your lawn regularly
  • Make your property inhospitable to rodents by keeping garbage and loose food contained
  • Check your pet for ticks after returning from outdoors. Common areas for ticks are in ears or around genitalia.

deer-tick-count-expected-to-be-worst-on recordIf you do find a tick on your pet, treat the area with rubbing alcohol and pluck the tick with tweezers, making sure you’ve gotten the biting head and other body parts. Since it may only take a few hours for disease to be transmitted from an attached tick,we  advise having your pet evaluated by a veterinarian soon after any ticks are found.

We are ready to help you identify and remove ticks at our Danbury AFC urgent care centers, no appointment needed. Call or walk in, to any of our centers at 2 Main Street, 100 Mill Plain Road, or our newest urgent care center 74C Newtown Road opening in late June. In the Hartford area? Visit us at 1030 Boulevard in West Hartford, 135 East Main Street in New Britain, or in late June at 179 Talcotville Road in Vernon.