July in NJ: Tick Alert!

July is the month to be outdoors, it's not as hot and humid as August, but more consistently sunny than June. We want everyone to be outside enjoying the sun (with sunscreen SPF 30 and above) and hiking, biking, or just gardening.

In New Jersey though, we have to be aware of ticks because Lyme Disease is a real possibility. Don’t get too worried though, not all ticks carry it and not all bites result in infection.

Here is an easy way to look at it:

At the end of the day, especially a day spent being active outdoors, check your whole body for a tick. I mean the WHOLE body. This summer, we found one hidden behind my 7 year old son’s ear just by the hairline! If you find one, you can extract it yourself by grasping it with a pair of tweezers and pulling up and out. Inspect that the mouthpiece is not left in the skin. Disinfect the wound with alcohol. Do not worry about saving the insect.  A Lyme carrying tick, as opposed to other ones, are very, very small.

You will need a blood test for a baseline to verify that you do not have antibodies to Lyme disease, and a second one about 6-7 weeks later. If the second test is negative it means that you have not been infected from that particular tick bite. If positive you will receive treatment before any actual disease develops. This approach works well and decreases the anxiety associated with a tick bite.

Enjoy the outdoors!!!