These ticks can attach themselves to your dog, especially if your dog has been playing outdoors where the ticks naturally reside. They may also get it from contact with a dog that has been playing outdoors. When your dog has infected fleas, these fleas can move on to biting you, and you may get Lyme disease.
The first signs of Lyme disease include a rash which can be as small as your fingertip or as big as 12 inches in diameter. One of the defining characteristics of Lyme disease is that the rash has a bull’s eye pattern, a red center with a white halo and then a red ring on the outside. This rash may not immediately appear: it can take somewhere between a few days to a month for it to be visible. Other symptoms of Lyme disease include flu like symptoms: fever, headache, fatigue, weakness, chills and headaches. You may also experience joint pain that usually affects the knees, but can move from joint to joint. In more serious cases, it can cause neurological problems such as meningitis, Bell’s palsy (temporary paralysis of one side of the face), weakness in the limbs, and impaired muscle movements. If the infection is untreated, a person may experience these symptoms months or years after being bitten. This is why it’s important to consult with a doctor at the first sign of Lyme disease.
If you’ve been bitten by a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers around the head. Don’t crush the tick—you might leave the head attached to your skin. Once you have plied the tick out, apply an antiseptic around the area. Usually a tick would need around 48 hours of feeding before it can infect you with Lyme disease, so the earlier it is removed, the better. You can prevent Lyme disease by wearing long sleeved shirts and pants when walking in wooded and grassy areas, preferably with your shirt and pant hem tucked in. You should also stick to clear trails and avoid going into grassy and bushy areas. If you’re walking with your dog, you should also keep them in a leash to avoid them from venturing into tick territory.
Insect repellents that contain DEET are also effective in keeping the ticks away. You should also try and tick proof your yard, especially if you live in a wooded area. Prune bushes and keep grass short, and stack piles of wood in sunny areas. Check your dogs and other pets regularly for ticks and have them removed regularly.