As people spend more time outdoors, the Department of Health is reminding Pennsylvanians to take proper steps to prevent tick bites and recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease, as some may be similar to those of COVID-19.
Preliminary data show that more than 8,500 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Pennsylvania in 2019. Over time, if not treated, Lyme disease can lead to severe symptoms that affect the heart, nervous system and joints. You are at risk of getting a tick bite any time you are outside. To reduce your chances of a tick bite: walk in the center of trails and avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter; use a repellent that contains at least 20% DEET; wear light-colored clothing; conduct full-body tick checks on yourself and on your pets after spending time outdoors; and take a bath or shower within two hours after coming indoors.
If you have been bitten by a tick, make sure to monitor the area for any kinds of symptoms and contact your health care provider immediately. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a red, swollen bulls-eye shape rash; as well as fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, diarrhea, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.
Click here for more information about Lyme disease.
Click to learn about how to have a tick tested for Lyme or other diseases.