Ticks, Lyme, and other Tickborne Illnesses
Ticks are a part of life in Norwalk and all over this region. They can carry different illnesses, including Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to avoid tick bites and act quickly if you are bitten by a tick.
Protect Your Property
- Keep your yard free of leaf litter and debris, and cut grass and tall weeds regularly. Remove any puddles of standing water.
- Consult this guide from the CT Agricultural Experiment Station to learn about pesticides and other strategies to protect your property.
- Avoid wooded or bushy areas and areas with tall grass, where ticks are most common. If hiking or walking in these areas, try to walk in the center of trails.
- Treat your clothing, boots, and other gear with products that contain 0.5% permethrin.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Always follow product instructions carefully.
- Tuck your pants into your socks to keep ticks off your skin. (Ticks often start on the lower legs and crawl up the body to find a feeding spot.)
- Take a bath or shower as soon as possible after coming inside. Check your own scalp and body and those of your children for ticks and/or take a bath or shower soon after coming inside. Ticks can attach to any part of the human body, but they are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
Removing and Testing Ticks
If you find a tick on yourself or a family member, don’t panic! Just remove it as soon as possible.
- Use tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull the tick up and out with a steady, even pressure, making sure you don’t leave any mouth parts in the skin.
- Clean the bite area with alcohol or soap and water, and wash your hands.
You can bring the tick in a sealed bag or other small container to the Health Department during normal business hours (8:30 am to 5 pm) for identification. Do not crush the tick or use tape, petroleum jelly, or other substances on it. Trained staff will identify the tick and send deer ticks (the type that carries Lyme disease) to the CT Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) for testing. CAES will contact you with results by mail.
Please note: Tick testing can take several weeks, and you shouldn’t wait for results to talk to a doctor. Look for symptoms (see below), and contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
This tick identification service is free for Norwalk residents and carries a nominal fee for people who do not live in Norwalk. Click here for fees.
Look for Symptoms
An early symptom of Lyme disease is an expanding red “bullseye” rash, but only 60%-80% of infected people develop a rash. Other warning signs of Lyme and other tickborne illnesses include fatigue, fever, headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, and swollen glands.
Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. Lyme disease and other tickborne illnesses can often be treated successfully with antibiotics. However, if it is not treated, the infection can spread and become quite serious.
For More Information
Lyme Connection (Ridgefield Lyme Disease Task Force)
CDC Lyme Disease Information
CT Department of Public Health Lyme Disease Page
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Tick Information
CDC Information about Other Tickborne Diseases