Syracuse UniversityHealth Services

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Lyme Disease

WHAT IS IT:   Lyme disease is a serious infection.  It is spread by a bite from an infected deer tick.  Although not all ticks carry the disease, it is important to avoid ticks.

SYMPTOMS

Skin Rash (3-30 days after bite) that can look like “bulls eye” in shape – not painful or itchy.  Rash can also be diffuse.

Flu like symptoms:  fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, severe headache, muscle or joint pain

Later symptoms:  irregular heartbeat, liver inflammation, severe fatigue, cognitive problems

TREATMENT

Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. In general, recovery will be quicker and more complete if antibiotics are started early in disease.

WHEN TO SEEK CARE:  If you need help with removing a tick or if you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, please call for an appointment and tell the provider when the bite occurred and where you most likely acquired the tick.

PREVENTION:   KEEP TICKS OFF OF YOU!

Stay out of wooded areas with high grass and leaf litter.

Use insect repellent containing DEET or Permethrin when outdoors (follow product instructions).

Wear long pants, long sleeves, and socks.

Do daily tick checks after being outdoors. Young ticks can be smaller than a pencil point, so check thoroughly.

Removing ticks from your skin within 24 hours will prevent Lyme disease.

Remove ticks from your clothes before going indoors.

Wash clothes in hot water and dry them using high heat to kill any ticks that may be on your clothing.

Do not feed deer!

If you find a tick on your body, please call the Student Health Center and we can help you remove it.  If the health center is not open or you cannot make it in for a visit, follow the directions below.

REMOVING A TICK:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  4. Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible, not waiting for it to detach.