Lyme disease and other tick-born diseases are a significant cause of illness in New Hampshire. Measures to avoid getting bitten by a tick include:
- Using insect repellent according to product label directions
- Wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Staying away from tick-infested areas such as overgrown grass and brush
- Perform tick checks regularly
If you discover you have been bitten by a tick, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following actions to prevent tick-borne disease:
- Remove the tick immediately by grasping the head with fine-nosed tweezers as close to the skin as possible, using a slow, steady, upward motion to minimize the chances of leaving the head behind. Clean the bite area with soap and water or alcohol.
- Consult a healthcare provider if the tick has been attached for at least 36 hours for possible treatment with a prophylaxis (single dose of the antibiotic doxycycline). This prophylaxis can only be given to people 8 years of age or older and must be given within 72 hours of tick removal. One study found that if this was done, the prophylactic treatment was 87% effective in preventing early Lyme disease.
- If concern of illness arises after the tick bite, whether or not prophylactic treatment was administered, or you do not recall having been bitten by a tick but notice that you have a rash or a fever, a healthcare provider should be contacted to discuss whether testing or treatment is needed.
To learn more about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, visit New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services at dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/lyme.
And remember you never need an appointment to be seen at Cheshire Medical Center’s Walk-In, open 365 days a year. Learn more at cheshiremedwalkin.org.