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Wellness & CareFamily Health › Lyme Disease Prevention
October 17, 2017

Lyme Disease Prevention

Lyme Disease Prevention

Westchester County and the surrounding areas are high-risk areas for Lyme disease, an infection caused primarily by a bacteria carried by deer ticks. Ticks remain active year-round, as long as the temperature is above 35 degrees. Early Lyme symptoms may include rash, flu-like symptoms, joint and muscle pain, which can become severe.

Dr. Sandra Kesh, Westmed’s infectious disease specialist, urges families to avoid tick bites by taking the following precautions:

  • Stay out of the bushes — Ticks like to hide out in tall grass and shrubs.
  • Wear the right clothing — Wear light-colored clothes that cover your body. Ticks are easier to detect and less likely to latch onto your skin this way.
  • Wear enclosed shoes when spending time outdoors.
  • Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls (havens for ticks).
  • Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.
  • Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails.
  • Consider repellants — A DEET-based spray on your skin can deter ticks if you intend to go off-trail or into overgrown areas. Permethrin repellents can be used on clothing as well, but do not apply permethrin to your skin.
  •  Check frequently for ticks while outdoors, and do a final body scan at the end of the day. Pay special attention to underarms, the backs of knees, waist, groin and scalp. Check your children and pets.

If you find a tick on yourself, a family member or pet, remove it by grasping its head with fine-tipped tweezers and pulling gently, away from the body.

Dr. Kesh advises you to consider calling and seeing your Westmed doctor in the following cases:

  • After removing a tick to see if it is reasonable to get a dose of preventative antibiotics
  • If you develop an expanding rash at the site of a tick bite; and
  • If you develop “typical” early Lyme symptoms: fever, joint or muscle aches, headache or fatigue.