Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is encouraging residents to take simple precautions to prevent illness caused by infected ticks, as warmer weather means increased risk of tickborne disease transmission. Governor Wes Moore’s recently proclaimed May as “Tickborne Disease Awareness Month” in Maryland.
“We want all residents to get out and enjoy all of the natural beauty that Montgomery County has to offer,” said County Health Officer Kisha Davis. “With the weather heating up, we also want to remind residents to be mindful of the dangers of tick exposure and provide tools to recognize the symptoms of tick-transmitted diseases.”
Lyme disease is the most reported tickborne disease in Maryland. In 2021, more than 900 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Maryland. Symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- A rash (which might look like a bull’s eye)
- Joint pain
If left untreated, the disease may spread to the joints and nervous system. Contact your health care provider if any of these symptoms develop after a known tick bite or after spending time in a tick habitat. Most cases can be cured with antibiotics.
The best way to avoid tickborne diseases is to avoid ticks and their habitat. Ticks prefer humid environments and can be found outdoors in leaf litter, weeds, tall grasses, shrubs and woods. While Lyme disease is the most prevalent tickborne disease in Maryland, other illnesses that can be transmitted by ticks include anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain and other spotted fever diseases and tularemia.
To prevent tick exposure and bites:
- Use EPA approved insect repellents such as DEET, picaridin or IR3535
- Wear light colored clothing to help spot ticks more easily
- Wear long pants and sleeves and tuck your pants into your socks or boots
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin
- Consider purchasing permethrin treated clothing and gear
- Stick to marked paths when hiking and avoid brushy areas and tall grass
- Shower as soon as possible after returning indoors
- Dry clothes on high for 10 minutes once you get home to kill any ticks on clothing
- Perform a tick check on yourself, children and pets after being outside in a tick habitat
- Talk to your veterinarian about ways to protect your pets
Find out more about ticks on the DHHS website. Follow DHHS on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about tickborne diseases. The Maryland Department of Health will also be posting weekly updates on Facebook and Twitter on tips to protect against tickborne diseases.