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Tick Bite

The western Black-Legged Tick (Ixodes pacificus) is the only tick of the 49 species occurring in California that is known to transmit Lyme disease. The spirochete causing Lyme disease was first isolated from this tick in 1984. The adult females are red-brown with black legs, about 1/8 of an inch long; males are smaller and entirely brownish-black. Both are teardrop shaped. It is most common in the humid coastal areas and on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada range.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted by the bite of a tick. It can lead to serious joint, nervous system and sometimes heart complications in both humans and animals. Early symptoms included a characteristic red rash (erythema migrans), in a "bull's eye" pattern, flu like symptoms, fever, and aches. Nearly all Lyme disease patients can be effectively treated with an appropriate course of antibiotic therapy. In general, the sooner such therapy is begun following infection, the quicker and more complete recovery.

To protect yourself from tick-born diseases, you can take steps to avoid tick exposure.
  • Walk along cleared or paved surfaces, avoiding brush, and grassy areas when in tick country.
  • Tuck pants in boots or socks, and shirt into pants. Choose light-colored fabric so you can spot and brush off ticks.
  • Use insect repellant containing DEET and/or permithrin. Follow package instructions.
  • Use flea and tick collars on pets and brush them carefully after they've been outdoors.
  • Check yourself and your children frequently

Prompt removal of ticks may prevent disease transmission. To remove a tick you should:
  • Grab the tick as close as you can to the skin and pull it out gently but firmly with a blunt tweezers.
  • Place tick in a sealed bag to save for possible identification later. Try not to crush the tick's body or handle the tick with bare fingers.
  • Do not use a match, petroleum jelly, or nail polish remover, because that may agitate the tick and cause it to inject the bacteria.
  • Wash hands and bite site with soap and water. Apply antiseptic to bite site.
  • Check with your Health Care Provider if you have any concerns, or develop any symptoms.
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Other informative articles:

Head Lice
Hepatitis B

Tulare County Office of Education
School Health Program
7000 Doe Avenue, Building 700, Visalia, CA 93291

Nan Arnold, Program Manager
(559) 651-0130 • fax: (559) 651-1995

Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219

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