2 Lyme Disease Cases Reported in Kane County So Far This Year
Back in June, experts were warning of a severe summer season for ticks in our neck of the woods, but the Kane County Health Department reports that — so far, at least — it has not been a banner year for Lyme disease.
Kane County Health Department Communications Coordinator Tom Schlueter said Tuesday that there have been just two cases of lyme disease in Kane County this year.
That’s not the case in all parts of state or the U.S. The East Coast, for example, has experienced an increase in tick population and lyme disease reports, according to the Centers For Disease Control and media sources.
How to Protect Yourself
The Health Department says the best way to protect yourself against tickborne illness is to avoid tick bites. This includes avoiding known tick- infested areas.
If you live in or visit wooded areas or areas with tall grass and weeds, follow these precautions to help prevent tick bites and decrease the risk of disease:
- Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
- Walk in the center of trails.
- Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, boots or sturdy shoes and a head covering. (Ticks are easier to detect on light-colored clothing.) Tuck trouser cuffs in socks. Tape the area where pants and socks meet so ticks cannot crawl under clothing.
- Apply insect repellent containing 10 percent to 30 percent DEET primarily to clothes. Apply sparingly to exposed skin. Do not spray directly to the face; spray the repellent onto hands and then apply to face. Avoid sensitive areas like the eyes, mouth and nasal membranes. Be sure to wash treated skin after coming indoors.
- Use repellents containing permethrin to treat clothes (especially pants, socks and shoes) but not skin.
Help Identify Tickborne Illness
To submit a tick to Kane County Health Department for identification, please complete the Arthropod Identification Form (below) and submit the tick in a shatterproof container with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
How to Find, Remove Ticks
SOURCE: Kane County Health Department
- 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 and attach to a person later. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.
- If ticks are crawling on the outside of clothes, they can be removed with masking tape or cellophane tape. A ring of tape can be made around the hand by leaving the sticky side out and attaching the two ends. Ticks will stick to the tape which can then be folded over and then placed in the trash.
- Remove any tick promptly. The mouthparts of a tick are barbed and may remain embedded and lead to infection at the bite site if not removed promptly. The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it firmly with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently, but firmly, pull it straight out. Do not twist or jerk the tick. If tweezers are not available, grasp the tick with a piece of tissue or cloth or whatever can be used as a barrier between your fingers and the tick. Ticks can be safely disposed of by placing them in a container of soapy water or alcohol, sticking them to tape or flushing them down the toilet. If you want to have the tick identified, put it in a small vial of 70% isopropyl alcohol.
- Wash the bite area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water and apply an antiseptic to the bite site.
- If you have an unexplained illness with fever, contact a physician. Be sure to tell the physician if you have been outdoors in areas where ticks were present or traveled to areas where tickborne diseases are common.