AUGUSTA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention urges Maine residents and visitors to be Tick Wise during May’s Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

Preventing tick bites is the best way to avoid a tickborne disease. Deer ticks in Maine can carry germs that cause diseases in people and animals, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi disease, and Powassan virus disease, according to a news release from the Maine center.

These ticks are often found in wooded, leafy and shrubby areas, so most Mainers are at risk every day. Anyone spending time outdoors should take steps to limit their exposure to ticks.

Ticks are already active in Maine this season, which begins in early spring and lasts through late fall. People can follow these strategies after every outdoor activity to become “Tick Wise” and prevent tickborne diseases:

• Know their tick habitat and use caution in areas where ticks may live;

• Use an EPA-approved repellent like DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus;

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• Wear light-colored clothing that covers the arms and legs and tuck pants into socks; and

• Perform tick checks daily and after any outdoor activity.

Health care providers reported more than 1,500 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases to Maine CDC in 2021, as of March 25, 2022. The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a “bull’s-eye” rash anywhere on the body. Other common symptoms include joint and muscle pain, fatigue, chills, fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes. Some of these symptoms resemble COVID-19 symptoms.

Those who experience any of these symptoms should talk to a health care provider, and be sure to mention a recent tick bite or time spent in tick habitat.

Maine CDC provides many resources to help Mainers be “Tick Wise,” including:

• Short educational videos on tick bite prevention and tickborne diseases. All videos are available at youtube.com/mainepublichealth;

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• Virtual education for youth in third through eighth grades. Video presentations, games, and activity books are available at maine.gov/dhhs/schoolcurricula;

• Tickborne disease prevention tips. Maine CDC shares tick prevention tips throughout the month. Check out Maine CDC on Facebook (facebook.com/MaineCDC), Instagram (instagram.com/mainecdc), and Twitter (twitter.com/MEPublicHealth). Find other informational materials at maine.gov/lyme/month;

• Tickborne disease data from the Maine Tracking Network. Find Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis data at data.mainepublichealth.gov/tracking; and

• The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab offers tick identification and testing to Maine residents. Tick testing is available for $15 with a three-day turnaround time. This is for surveillance purposes only. Contact a health care provider for concerns about tickborne illnesses. Find more information at ticks.umaine.edu.

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