Tick and Lyme Disease FAQ's
- What is Lyme disease?
- How is Lyme disease spread?
- Who gets Lyme disease?
- What are some of the signs of Lyme disease?
- How soon do signs of Lyme disease appear?
- I was recently bitten by a tick, removed it, and now want to have it identified. Where should I send the tick?
- Where do I send my tick to have it tested for Lyme disease?
- How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for Lyme disease?
- How should I properly remove a tick?
- Where in the state is Lyme disease found?
- I'm pregnant and was recently infected with Lyme disease. How might this affect my pregnancy and how might my fetus be affected?
- Is there a vaccine for Lyme disease?
- Can I get Lyme disease again after being successfully treated for it in the past?
- Can I get Lyme disease from another person?
- What time of the year should I be most concerned about Lyme disease?
- How many people living in Maine die each year from Lyme disease?
- How can I protect my family and myself from getting Lyme disease?
- Should I take antibiotics to prevent Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick?
- How long does a tick need to be attached to a person for that person to get Lyme disease?
- What can I do to protect my pets from getting Lyme disease?
- People who are commonly outdoors in areas where ticks are found. (E.g. wooded areas, thick grass, overgrown bushes, and brush or leaf piles)
- Children under the age of 15 years old
- Adults over the age of 50 years old
- People who have other illnesses that make it hard for them to fight off germs
- A ring-like rash around the area of the tick bite -- The rash could resemble a bull's eye with a clearing center and a distinct ring around it
- Flu-like symptoms (Eg: fatigue, headache, fever, muscle or joint soreness
- stage signs of Lyme disease include the following:
- Neurological (nerves) problems
- Cardiovascular (heart) problems
- stage signs of Lyme disease include the following:
Question 5) How soon do signs of Lyme disease appear?
Answer - Early signs of Lyme disease usually occur within the first month after the tick bite. Later symptoms would occur several weeks to several months later.
Question 6) I was recently bitten by a tick, removed
it, and now want to have it identified. Where should I send the tick?
Answer - You can have a tick identified by sending it to the Maine Medical Center Lyme Research Lab. For specific instructions on how to submit a tick please go to the Maine Medical Center Lyme Research Lab
Question 7) Where do I send my tick to have it tested
for Lyme disease?
Answer - The Maine Medical Center's Lyme Disease Research Lab only identifies ticks; they DO NOT test ticks for Lyme disease. The state lab in Augusta also does NOT test ticks for Lyme disease. Testing for a tick that bit you is not going to tell you whether you have Lyme disease. Individuals who still wish to have a tick tested may do so at their own expense at a private laboratory.
Question 9) What is the treatment for Lyme disease?
Answer - Lyme disease can be easily treated if it is detected in the early stages. In it's early stages Lyme disease would be treated with oral antibiotics. If Lyme disease is found in later stages intravenous antibiotics may be given to the patient.
Question 10) How should I properly remove a tick?
Answer - Using tweezers, you should grab the tick at it's mouth and using firm steady pressure you should pull the tick out. Do not yank or squish the tick because it may have harmful bodily fluids. Also, do not use petroleum jelly, hot matches, nail polish remover or any other substance to remove the tick. Using those items could increase the risk of an infection.
- Wooded or forested areas
- Around wild, unmaintained landscapes with high grass
- Brush or leaf piles
Question 12) I’m pregnant and was recently
infected with Lyme disease. How might this affect my pregnancy and how might my fetus
Answer - Pregnant women should stay away from all ticks and areas where ticks are most likely be found. Lyme disease can be given to an unborn child, although it is rare. It can also cause the mother to miscarry her child or to deliver a stillborn child.
Question 14) Can I get Lyme disease again after being
successfully treated for it in the past?
Answer - Yes, you can get Lyme disease again if you do not take proper steps to protect yourself. You must use repellents and wear appropriate clothing to make sure you do not get bitten by ticks.
Question 18) How can I protect my family and myself
from getting Lyme disease?
Answer - To prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, the best protection is to avoid contact with ticks. If you are working, playing, or relaxing in areas that may have ticks you should do the following:
- Wear light colored clothing (spot ticks easier) with long sleeve shirts and pants
- Create an extra "no tick" zone by tucking your pants into your socks and you shirt into your pants
- Use insect repellent (with DEET) on your skin and apply permethrin (kills ticks on contact) to your clothes. For information on other recommended repellents.
- Check your clothing and skin carefully after being outdoors in likely tick infested areas & remove ticks promptly
- Wash area of any possible tick bites thoroughly with soap and water, apply an antiseptic to area of the bite
- Mark on a calendar the date that you were bitten, then watch yourself for signs of Lyme disease or any changes in your personal health every day for the next month
- Keep your lawn mowed, cut overgrown brush, and clear away leaf litter from your home
- Inspect any pets daily and remove any ticks found
Question19) Should I take antibiotics to prevent
Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick?
Answer - Use of antibiotics after a known tick bite is not routinely recommended. If you were bitten in an area that is known to have Lyme disease you should look for the early signs of Lyme disease such as fever, rash, fatigue, and contact your doctor for advise on what to do next.
Question 20) How long does a tick need to be attached
to a person for that person to get Lyme disease?
Answer - If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is very small. In general, ticks need to be attached for 24 to 48 hours before they can give you Lyme disease. However, just to be safe you should check your health closely for one month after a tick bite and call your doctor if you have any of the early signs of Lyme disease.
Question 21) What can I do to protect my pets from
getting Lyme disease?
Answer - Domestic animals (such as dogs) that have contact with the outdoors are at a high risk of getting Lyme disease. Because of this, it is important that pet owners regularly bring their pets to a vet. The vet will advise you on tick control products that will help to prevent ticks from attaching to your pet.
To Submit a Disease Report:
- Tel: 800 821 5821
- Fax: 800 293 7534