Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans and pets in California from the bite of an infected western blacklegged tick. Lyme disease causes flu-like symptoms that left untreated, may progress to arthritic, neurologic, or cardiac problems. Incidences of Lyme disease have occurred in some northern California counties, with some counties posing a higher risk of contracting the disease than others..
There are several ways to protect yourself from Lyme disease. If you spend time outdoors in tick-infested areas, take these simple precautions:
- Wear full length-pants and long-sleeved shirts, and tuck your shirt into your pants, and your pant legs into socks.
- Perform tick checks – frequently inspect your clothing and exposed skin while outdoors and after you return, check your pets also.
- Remove any ticks before they can attach – pay special attention to the scalp, behind the ears and arms and legs.
- Wash clothing and dry on a one-hour dryer cycle at high heat to kill any ticks that may have crawled onto clothing.
If you find an embedded tick, do not use any of the popular methods of removing them such as applying heat from a lit match or using petroleum jelly.
To learn more about Lyme disease as well as how to safely remove a tick and where to take a tick sample, visit the UC IPM Pest Note: Lyme Disease in California and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.