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Protect Yourself Against Lyme Disease This Summer

by Statcare Urgent Medical Care

As the weather warms up, you and your family will probably be spending more time enjoying the great outdoors. After all, the summer brings more opportunities for you to camp, hike, swim and bike. Before going outside, though, be sure to protect yourself from Lyme disease this summer.

In 2015, 95% of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported from 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.

What can you do to protect yourself?

You can decrease the chances of being bitten by a tick with a few precautions.

  1. Avoid tick infested areas. This is especially important in May, June and July. Many local health departments and park or extension services will have information regarding these areas.
  2. If you are in a tick-infested area, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass.
  3. Use insect repellent. Spray repellent containing a 20%-30% concentration of DEET on clothes and on exposed skin.
  4. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  5. Permethrin can also be used on tents and some camping gear. 
  6. Always check for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard.
  7. Remove attached ticks with tweezers. Avoid crushing the tick's body. Grasp the tick firmly and as close to the skin as possible. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.
  8. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
  9. After being outdoors, dry clothing in a hot dryer for 10 minutes to kill any ticks that are attached to clothing.

Source: CDC

If you think that you may be ill from a tick bite, you should see a healthcare provider to diagnose your illness. Statcare Urgent Medical Care is a great option for tick prevention advice, Lyme Disease testing and treatment. No appointment is necessary at our clinics and you’ll only wait minutes to be seen. You can call ahead at (855) 9 FOR DOC and let us know you’re on the way or you can check in online.



Should I be taking anti-malaria medication?

by Statcare Urgent Medical Care

Every year, millions of US residents travel to countries where malaria is present. About 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States annually, mostly in returned travelers.

Malaria is a life-threatening illness and it is transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, sweats and chills. To prevent malaria, travelers should take a medicine called an antimalarial when going to places where malaria is present.

Some other diseases caused by insect bites are dengue fever and Zika virus. Dengue fever is becoming more common, and there is no vaccine in the United States. Symptoms include fever and joint pain.

To lower your risk of insect bites:

  • Use an insect repellent. It should be applied two or three times a day. Put it on skin not covered by clothes, but don't use it under your clothes.

  • Wear clothes treated with the insect repellent permethrin. One application of permethrin will protect you from mosquitoes for more than a month, despite washing your clothes multiple times. Use on outer clothing, but not on underwear.

  • Sleep under a bed net that has been treated with permethrin. This isn't as important if you are staying in a room with air-conditioning. The risk of malaria isn't as high if the temperature is kept cool.

  • Wear long sleeves and pants, and tuck your pants into your socks.

  • Wear closed-toe shoes.

Stop by any of our clinics for a travel consultation. No appointment is necessary at our clinics and you’ll only wait minutes to be seen. You can call ahead at (855) 9 FOR DOC and let us know you’re on the way or you can check in online.

Source: CDC


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