Lyme disease, a bacterial infection which is spread by deer ticks, is prevalent in Shelton. Infected deer ticks may be present in woodlands and meadows from March to November. Take precautions when going into woods, fields and backyards. Use insect repellent, dress in light-colored clothing so the tiny ticks can be seen, roll pants cuffs into socks, wear long sleeves and a hat, and inspect pets that roam.
Ticks climb plants and grass so they can hitch a ride on animals and people who brush against the undergrowth. When hiking, reduce the risk of picking up an infected tick by staying on the trail instead of walking through the undergrowth or tall grass.
Insect repellents that contain DEET are very effective against ticks. Follow the label instructions for proper use and application. Products will 15% or less DEET content is recommended for children. Do not apply products containing DEET on infants; use a non-DEET alternative product instead.
A reddish, bull’s-eye shaped rash will appear three to 30 days after the bite in about 75% of people bitten by an infected tick. Most people experience flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, headache, aching joints and muscles, chills, fatigue and nausea. Acute weight loss, low platelet count and low white blood cell count can also occur. Different people may experience different combinations of symptoms.
Lyme disease is easy to treat with antibiotics if caught early, but if allowed to go untreated for several months the symptoms can be disabling and difficult to treat. More information is provided by the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov) and the Naugatuck Valley Health District (nvhd.org).