AUGUSTA - As the weather begins to warm up, The Maine Department of Labor is raising awareness of tick-borne illnesses and ways to prevent encounters with ticks, especially for those that work outside every day.
Outdoor workers are especially at risk of exposure to ticks if they are in a wooded or bushy area, or an area with high grass.
Points for prevention:
- Skin – use your preferred repellent on your skin daily (Deet, essential oils, natural repellants). Wash off at the end of the day.
- Clothing – Treat outer clothing with Permethrin (follow the instructions closely) or purchase already treated clothing.
- Pets – Talk to your vet about appropriated options, as not all over the counter topicals and orals are safe for all breeds and ages. Pre-treated pet vests are also available.
- Yard – Use do-it-yourself products or a pest control company to rid the yard of ticks in a safe and effective manner. Keep lawn mowed short, cut back overgrowth, and remove wet/leafy areas.
While Lyme Disease is not the only tick-borne illness, healthcare providers reported over 1,400 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2018.
According to the Maine CDC, the most commonly reported symptom was an erythema migrans or "bullseye" rash. Other common symptoms include arthritis, fatigue, chills, fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes.
If bitten by a tick, you can save it for testing so that you know if you have been exposed to anything. The UMaine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab can test ticks for Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Babesia. For Maine residents, the test costs $15 per tick. For more information, visit https://extension.umaine.edu/ticks/
Information provided by Midcoast Lyme Disease Support and Education. For more information, visit mldse.org