Lyme Disease is a bacteria transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Blacklegged tick (or deer tick). Symptoms may include headache, fever, and the characteristic "bulls-eye" skin rash (erythema migrans). If not treated, the infection can spread to joints, heart and nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (like the rash) and the possibility of exposure to ticks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2015, 95% of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported from only 14 states; Maryland was one of those states!

Preventing Tick Bites

The best defense against Lyme disease and other tick-related infections is to reduce expose to ticks. The CDC recommends the following:

  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass
  • Walk in the center of trails
  • Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin DEET
    • Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (which also protects against mosquito bites) on exposed skin and clothing. Protection may last up to several hours. Parents should apply repellent on children (avoid hands, face and eyes).
    • Use products that contain 0.5% Permethrin to treat clothing, gear (boots, socks, pants) and tents. It will remain protected through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available at many camping/outdoor stores and may provide longer protection
    • There are other repellents registered by the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA). Click here for more information.

Conduct Ticks Checks on People, Pets and Gear

  • Take a shower or bath as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and find the ticks that may be crawling on you.
  • Do a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body after coming in from a tick-infested area.
    • Check: underarms, in and around ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist and especially in the hair!
    • Parents: check children in the above areas too!
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can get a free ride home on these