Tick season is in full swing, and the Norwalk Health Department encourages Norwalkers to protect themselves against tick-borne diseases.
Different species of ticks can carry different harmful illnesses, such as Lyme disease. The best way to avoid tick-related illnesses is to prevent tick bites by following these tips:
- 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.
- 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.)
- Check yourself and 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.
- Talk to your veterinarian about the best way to treat pets to help them avoid getting tick-borne diseases and carrying ticks into the home.
- Consider treating your clothing, boots, and other gear with products that contain 0.5% permethrin.
If you are bitten by a tick, remove it right away and monitor yourself for symptoms. If you’d like to get the tick tested, you can bring it to the Health Department. Our lab will send the tick to the CT Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), where state experts will determine what kind of tick it is and test it for 3 illnesses: anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Lyme. Testing is offered at no cost for Norwalk residents and for $15 for non-residents.
Test results will be mailed to the address you provide to the Health Department when you submit, but they can take up to 7 weeks, so we strongly encourage you to monitor for symptoms (e.g., fever, muscle or joint pain, fatigue, bullseye rash) and contact your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns.
For more information regarding ticks or tick testing please visit the NHD webpage on Ticks and Lyme Disease or call (203) 854-7776.