May is Lyme disease awareness month

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Lyme disease is a common tick-borne disease in Massachusetts.

It comes from infected black-legged ticks, and can cause fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash, according to the CDC. If it’s left untreated, the bacterial infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Although, most cases can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough.

Prevention is key, and it’s especially important now that ticks are becoming much more active with the warming weather.

22News spoke with Natasha Wright, an entomologist with Braman Termite and Pest Elimination Specialists. She recommends long sleeves, long pants and high socks when spending time outdoors, especially in grassy or heavily wooded areas. 

“They also like to bite areas that are constricted, so around where your socks are, around your waistline, around where your belts are, so check those areas. Or at least [make] sure you have repellent there,” Wright told 22News.

Check yourself as soon as you come inside, and don’t just check for the little black critters we’re used to seeing. An engorged tick can look quite different.

Engorged tick with eggs. (Braman Termite and Pest Elimination Specialists)

Use a skin repellent with 30-percent deet, or a repellent called permethrin for only your clothes. If you get a tick, as soon as you see it, pull it out slowly with a pair of tweezers; grab it as close to the skin as you can leaving nothing left attached.

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