Beware of New Tick Illness

A new potentially fatal tick borne illness has been reported in Connecticut. The Powassan virus is a rare, but extremely serious tick borne illness that has made it’s way from Canada to our area. Currently, it doesn’t have a treatment or a cure.

Unlike Lymes Disease that takes weeks for symptoms to show, if bitten by a Powassan infected tick you can get the virus within a matter of minutes, and while the symptoms are similar to Lyme disease, they are more severe.

“The doctor just has to support you during the acute illness and hope that you survive,” Dr. Daniel Cameron explained. “You can get seizures, high fevers, stiff neck. It comes on so suddenly that it’s the kind of thing people go to the emergency room for.”

It is important to keep on top of tick prevention and detection.

 

Here are some tips from the CDC to prevent tick bites

  • Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks

Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

Walk in the center of trails.

  • Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin

Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.

Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.External Web Site Icon

  • Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body

Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.

Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)