ROCKY HILL — The sun was out Friday — and so were the ticks. May is Lyme disease awareness month. With that awareness comes protection from what can be a debilitating illness to you, your children and your pets.
So what can we do to spot the signs and reduce the risk? Well, it may not be a fashion statement but medical experts say to tuck your pants into your socks. Also, wear light colored clothing and take a shower after you come in from outside. But there’s just no substitute for being aware.
The clock is ticking on tick season. “It could be freezing cold, but as soon as that sun breaks, boom they are out,” said Jeff Wolcott of West Hartford.
We took our cameras to the Rocky Hill dog park where mans best friend relies on man to stay tick free. “I’ll have her roll on her belly,” said Paul Pfund of Wethersfield. “I’ll check her tail and chest area and if I feel something I’ll dig a little deeper.”
Pet owners have a variety of options. There are tick ointments, collars and even chewable treats. Pet owners told us it won’t stop them from enjoying the outdoors. “No not at all, just be aware your your surrounding as far as short grass or tall grass. They’re everywhere!” said Wolcott.
A tick byte can be deadly to humans in rare cases too. “A good friend of my fathers was actually from Lyme and he was one of the first ones to get Lyme disease and he passed away from it,” said Pfund.
Lyme disease often manifests as a bulls eye rash, but not always. Jocelyn Mullins is the State Public Health Veterinarian. She said, “Other symptoms to be aware of during the tick season is feeling tired, feeling achy, a headache and low grade fever.”
That’s why Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling for more funding for the National Institute of Health. He wants to develop a tick disease blood test. “Which right now are nowhere near as reliable as they should be. That’s why we need to increase the investment,” explained Senator Blumenthal.
Most ticks take a couple of hours to attach to you and can take a day before they transmit Lyme. If you do find one attached, take tweezers and pull it straight off. Try not to squeeze the tick and health experts say whatever you do, don’t try burning it off. Call your local health department and you can send the tick in to be testing for diseases.