Fight the Bite-May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Fight the Bite-May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

The DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) encourages the community to learn how to protect themselves from ticks and Lyme disease by “fighting the bite.”

Lyme disease is an infection that individuals can get from the bite of infected ticks – and it is the most common vector-borne illness in the United States with more than 500,000 people diagnosed and treated each year.

The most important thing people can do to “Fight the Bite” is to diligently check themselves, their pets, and children for ticks after spending time in areas where ticks live, such as in and near wooded areas, tall grass, and brush. Removing ticks within a 24-hour period reduces the risk of potential disease transmission.

To learn how to help fight the bite, IDPH created a fact sheet and Tick Defense Knowledge Check crossword puzzle that make it fun to learn about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from tickborne illnesses. They also partnered with the Illinois Natural History Survey to launch an interactive Tick Surveillance Map that documents the counties in Illinois where the different tick species have been confirmed as well as the diseases they may carry.

Below are additional tips for how to avoid tickborne illnesses:

  • Avoid wooded, bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to find. Tuck long pants into socks and boots.
  • Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing 20% DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus according to label directions.
  • Conduct full-body tick checks on family members (underarms, ears, belly button, behind knees, between legs, waist, hair and scalp) every two to three hours. Also check any gear or pets taken on outings.
  • Put your clothes in the dryer on high for 10 minutes (or one hour for damp clothes) to kill ticks.
  • Bathe or shower within two hours after coming indoors.

Learn about tick removal and symptom awareness on IDPH’s website

For information about Health Department services, visit the DCHD website.