The Exploding Tick Epidemic in Maine! A Maine Health Insurance Problem!
According to an article in the Advertiser Democrat, Dr. Sheila Pinette, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that Maine has seen an increase of Lyme disease cases over time. For example, in 2004 there were a total of 225 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Maine, but in 2011 there were 1,002 cases reported statewide!
The experts also fear that the worst is yet to come. With our unusually warm winter and early start to spring, ticks have got a “jump start” on the normal tick season. Basically, this means more ticks hatching and a longer exposure time for humans!
According to Pinette, research for sprays and vaccines have been inconclusive, so education is the best prevention. Here are a few educational tips to help you avoid Lyme disease this spring and summer:
• Use a bug spray with Deet! Bug sprays with a Deet content of 20% or higher help to keep ticks off your skin and clothing.
• Use Permethrin on things other than your skin. It should never be used on skin, but you can apply it to hiking boots, tents, and camp chairs. Permethrin is sold under the names of Permanone and Duranon.
• Wear clothing that covers your whole body. This is undoubtedly hard in the warm weather, but wearing a hat, long sleeved shirt, long pants, and socks help to protect your body from ticks. And if you combine this with light colored clothing it is much easier to detect the ticks.
• Shower quickly after being outdoors. Studies have shown that people who shower within two hours of being in the woods have a much lower rate of tick bites than people who don’t!
• Check your body for ticks. Every day it is important to closely check yourself (and your kids) for ticks. Ticks can be very small, so look at all parts of your body very closely. Also, be meticulous about checking your scalp and hair for evidence of ticks.