Guard yourself against ticks and Lyme disease - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Guard yourself against ticks and Lyme disease

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Tick season is in full swing across Western Massachusetts and the rest of New England.

Entomologist Bob Russell, of American Pest Solutions, says ticks like to hide along edge property, the boundary between open ground and cover. He said areas of long grass, ferns and scrub brush were the most likely areas to run into ticks.

One solution to reduce ticks is to mow down or cut long grass. Another solution would be to use commercial products to get rid of the bugs. Russell said the chemicals available to homeowners are only effective for a few days and must be applied properly to work. He suggested calling a professional if there is concern because their chemicals are more powerful and last longer.

What happens if you find a tick on you or a pet?

Dr. Marie Vitale, medical director for Doctors Express in Springfield, said the best way to remove a tick is with a quality pair of tweezers. She also recommended a tick removal tool sold at many pet stores.

She said if the tick was removed within the first 24 hours, the likelihood of contracting Lyme disease or any similar disease is low.

Vitale said it is important to monitor the area where the tick is burrowed for a rash. Symptoms of Lyme disease usually take between three and 30 days to appear. She said a blood test could show the presence of Lyme disease, but it takes a few weeks to show up.

Treatment for Lyme disease is typically a course of antibiotics. Vitale said the symptoms are usually fever, headache and neck pain. She said if it goes untreated, the disease could move to the joints and the brain.

Experts recommend wearing light-colored clothing, long pants and a long-sleeve shirt if you're planning on going into the woods. The light color allows ticks to easily be seen.

Vitale recommended, if there is any doubt, seek help from a medical professional.

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