THE DANGER: Connecticut is infamous for its tick infestation. In fact, Lyme disease, an infectious disease related to deer tick bites, is named after the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where a number of cases were identified in 1975. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the Northern Hemisphere. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, depression and a characteristic circular skin rash called erythema migrans. Left untreated, later symptoms may involve the joints, heart and central nervous system. In most cases, the infection and its symptoms are eliminated by antibiotics, especially if the illness is treated early. Late, delayed, or inadequate treatment can lead to the more serious symptoms, which can be disabling and difficult to treat. PREVENTION: Luckily for those who love the outdoors, there are ways to enjoy fun in the sun without worrying about dealing with tick-related illnesses. One of the most effective ways of dealing with ticks is to wear a repellent with DEET and long, layered clothing when you know you'll be out in the woods for extended periods of time. Another tip the CDC offers is to tuck your pant legs into your socks so that ticks cannot crawl up inside your pant legs. The most important way to prevent tick-related illnesses is to perform daily tick checks when you have been out for an extended period of time. Some of the most important areas to check include: under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, in back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs and around the waist. Read more at the CDC's Web site devoted to stopping ticks.
Stephen Dunn, Hartford Courant