Lyme Disease & Babesiosis: Dangerous Tick Borne Diseases

After a walk in the woods, check for ticks before getting in the car!

If you spend any amount of time outdoors on the North Shore, you should be aware of ticks, where they live, how they feed and what to do if you find a tick on your body or biting into your skin. Ticks are arachnids that are closely related to spiders. They feed by attaching themselves to animals and sucking blood. Ticks on the North Shore primarily transmit two dangerous infections - Lyme Disease and Babesiosis (a blood parasite commonly confused with malaria).

Ticks live in the woods and in grassy fields, but they can also survive in and around your home.  They are capable of surviving in varied environments as long as their main source of food - blood - is available. In the world of disease control, ticks are known as 'vectors' - an entity that transmits disease from one host to the next through their behavior.  Ticks, like mosquitos, transmit disease through feeding.

Deer tick life stages and relative sizes - adult, nymph, and larva

Lyme Disease

The most dangerous disease transmitted by ticks on the North Shore is Lyme Disease.  Infected deer ticks bite humans and transmit the disease while feeding.  Symptoms appear in the form of fatigue, fever, headache, muscle & joint aches, swollen lymph nodesErythyma migransas rash as it would appear in a Lyme Disease infection. and a bulls-eye shaped rash called erythema migrans. Lyme disease is a serious condition that can cause permanent bodily harm if left untreated.  Infection can spread to joints, the nervous system and the heart.

Infection can only be verified by a blood test. While clinical diagnosis is useful, the only way to be 100% sure that you've been infected is through a blood test. If caught early, a treatment of antibiotics usually results in complete recovery. Drugs commonly used to treat Lyme Disease include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. People with certain neurological or cardiac illness may require more intense intravenous treatment with drugs such as ceftriaxone or penicillin.

Babesiosis

Babesiosis is a parasitic infection that attacks red blood cells. Its passed primarily by younger ticks in their nymphal stage of growth.  These ticks are hard to see and are about the size of a poppy seed. Babesia infection ranges in severity from asymptomatic (no symptoms) to life-threatening. Symptoms are flu-like, and include chill, fever, headache, sweats, body aches, fatigue nausea and loss of appetite. Babesiosis can cause a type of anemia called hemolytic anemia, which can result in jaundice and dark urine.  Infection can also cause low or unstable blood pressure, low platelet count, blood clots and bleeding, and malfunction of vital organs (heart, liver, lungs or kidneys) resulting in death.

Symptoms should be a clear signal for a blood test where samples are examined for the presence of the parasite in the actual blood cell.  Any diagnostics should be confirmed by a reference laboratory because Babesia can be confused with similar diseases like malaria. 

Most people who show no symptoms probably won't require treatment, but those who do respond well to combined drug therapies that last 7 - 10 days. Treatment combinations are usually atovaquone & azithromycin, or clindamycin & quinine for severe cases.  Additional treatment may be required to treat the symptoms of infection and may include blood transfusions, mechanical ventilation, and dialysis.

Prevention

Like Poison Ivy, the best prevention of tick-borne disease is avoiding contact. This can be hard especially in the summer when we all spend more time out doors - at the beach, in the woods, out in the yard or at the park. There are strategies that can reduce your chances of exposure while you still enjoy the outdoors:

  • Walk in the center of trails
  • Wear shorts with long sleeves and pants when in the woods.
  • Use a bug spray with DEET on exposed skin.
  • Use a bug spray with permethrin on clothing, shoes and out door equipment.
  • Inspect yourself, your kids and your gear.
    • Try to do this on site before entering your vehicle.
      • A tick can live in a car if it has people to feed on.
    • Shower ASAP - within two hours is best practice.
    • Conduct a full-body tick check using mirrors to view all parts after being in a tick infested habitat.
    • Checking children should be thorough:
      • most importantly hair
      • under arms
      • in and around ears and nostrils
      • inside the belly button
      • behind knees
      • between legs
      • around waistband
    • Examine gear and pets
      • Ticks can hitch a ride into your house on your dog, in your tent or on your backback and bite somebody when they're home!
      • Clothes should be laundered and dried in a drier to kill any remaining ticks.

Removing a Tick

If you find a tick crawling on your body simply remove the tick and destroy it.  A shot glass of listerine will do the trick - just drop it in. If a tick has burrowed in to your skin, you should remove it immediatley with tweezers:

  • Use fine tipped tweezers
  • Grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible
  • Pull upward with steady pressure until the tick releases.
    • Twisting and erratic movement will cause the head or mouth parts of the tick to break of and become embedded in your skin.
      • Embedded tick parts should be removed with tweezers and the wound should be cleaned with Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Clean the bite area, your hands and your tweezers with alcohol, or plenty of soap and hot water.
  • Follow Up and Be Vigilant!
    • Make a note in your calendar of your tick bite, and where you may have picked up the tick.
    • If you develop symptoms for Lyme Disease or Babesiosis seek treatment immediately from a qualified health care provider.

DO NOT follow folk remedies for tick removal like using petroleum jelly or nail polish to smother the tick, or using a cigarette or lit match to burn the tick off.  You want to remove the whole, live tick as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals.  The information in this article is the result of research from the National Institutes of Health, the CDC and the WHO. When in doubt consult a qualified health care provider. Tick-borne diseases are serious medical conditions that are fatal under some circumstances if left untreated.  If you develop symptons described above, seek professional medical help.

The Big Dog Show A Dale Rogers Exhibit

Big Dog Show is a travelling large-scale public art exhibit
The Big Dog Show is a travelling large-scale public art exhibit created by award winning sculptor, Dale Rogers, and consists of twenty 8-foot-hi

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

Boston Public Market - Boston

Boston Public Market - Boston
The Boston Public Market is an indoor, year-round marketplace featuring 35 New England artisans and food producers housed under one roof offering fresh foods, prepared meals, crafts, and specialty items. Residents and visitors alike can find seasonal, locally sourced food from Massachusetts and New...
8:00 am to 8:00 pm

Dragonflies in the Park

Kids will explore and learn about the dragonflies at Halibut Point State Park.
Explore the world of odonata, one of the oldest life forms on Earth. This is a great kids’ program and most appropriate for families. Best for kids 8 and up. Meet at the Parking Lot Kiosk
9:00 am to 10:00 am

MFA: Casanova’s Europe: Art, Pleasure, and Power in the 18th Century

Museum exhibits at Museum of Fine Arts Boston MA
In the dynamic world of 18th-century Europe, people, ideas, and artistic styles crossed national boundaries. Salons rich with opulent paintings and furnishings hummed with intellectual exchange, gossip, and flirtation. To a person like Giacomo Casanova—smart and confident, boastful and scheming—the...
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Public Skate and Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

Sing & Dance with the Music Man - Saturday

Sing & Dance with the Music Man Brian Doser in Hamilton Visit Massachusetts
Come join the fun at Community House Of Hamilton & Wenham Monday, Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. for 30 - 45 minutes of great music with Brian Doser! Sing and dance with the Music Man during a family concert, featuring familiar and original tunes, performed by local dad and musician...
10:00 am to 10:45 am

Sing & Dance with the Music Man

Sing & Dance with the Music Man Brian Doser in Hamilton visit Massachusetts
Come join the fun at Community House Of Hamilton & Wenham Monday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. for 30 - 45 minutes of great music with Brian Doser! Sing and dance with the Music Man during a family concert, featuring familiar and original tunes, performed by local dad and musician...
10:00 am to 10:45 am

Arts and Crafts for Little Ones with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh

Art Classes for children with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh
Certified Montessori teacher, artist and local mother, Colleen Apostolos-Marsh will guide your young artist in an exploration of color, shape, and texture. Using a variety of media, your child will be free to express their in a beautiful space while socializing and engaging in cooperative play.
10:15 am to 11:15 am

Monday Knitting Group

Hamilton Wenham Knitting Group for All ages
The knitting group at the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library welcomes experienced & beginning knitters and crochet folk.
12:00 pm to 2:30 pm

AJH: Breastfeeding Class - Haverhill

Breastfeeding technique and support class at Anna Jaques Hospital. Best Hospital for Families
Breastfeeding Classes are taught by Anna Jaques Hospital Lactation Consultants for mothers and their support person(s) to gain the knowledge and tools to help you successfully breast your baby.
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Beverly Farmers' Market

Get fresh local produce at the Beverly Farmers Market in downtown Beverly Massac
This is a great farmers' market connected to a large grassy park in downtown Beverly.  There is always music and a lot of shade.  The market offers fresh local produce as well as cheese, meat, eggs, bread, dog treats, jewelry, and books.  The kids have a blast playing tag, meeting new friends, and...
Where: Odell Park
3:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Magnolia Farmers Market

Come enjoy the Magnolia Farmers Market on Lexington Ave every Monday!
Come to the Farmer's Market in Magnolia Village! Find fresh local produce and other locally produced foods every Monday on Lexington Avenue in Magnolia. Joe Wilkins plays the music you love to hear and you enjoy the labor of love of our local farmers and artisans.
4:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Kay Ellis Scholarship Fundraiser

The Kay Ellis Scholarship Fundraiser Sail and Dock Party August 20, 2018
Come to the Kay Ellis Memorial Fundraiser for a night of fun in Gloucester! Enjoy a sunset schooner cruise aboard the Lannon or Ardelle, followed by dinner, dessert, local music, and a pirate raffle. In 2017, $9,000 was awarded to students studying Hospitality and Tourism. Join us to help support...
6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Tuesday, August 21

The Big Dog Show A Dale Rogers Exhibit

Big Dog Show is a travelling large-scale public art exhibit
The Big Dog Show is a travelling large-scale public art exhibit created by award winning sculptor, Dale Rogers, and consists of twenty 8-foot-hi

Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT

Minsky Arm, created by Marvin Minsky on display at the MIT Museum!
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Explore the ideas that shaped AI and the birth of robotics, fields that are synonymous with research at MIT.
Where: MIT Museum

Boston Public Market - Boston

Boston Public Market - Boston
The Boston Public Market is an indoor, year-round marketplace featuring 35 New England artisans and food producers housed under one roof offering fresh foods, prepared meals, crafts, and specialty items. Residents and visitors alike can find seasonal, locally sourced food from Massachusetts and New...
8:00 am to 8:00 pm

Public Skate and Learn to Skate at Peabody Skating Rink

Learn to Skate with the Peabody Skating Club at Peabody Skating Rink
The McVann-O'Keefe Skating Rink in Peabody is open for Public Skating weekdays from 10-11:45 am, Saturday's at 2 pm, and Sundays at 2:10 pm. Call today to ask about the Learn to Skate program at with the Peabody Skating Club. The ice is perfect. The Halloween and Christmas parties are a blast, and...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

PEM: Sally Mann A Thousand Crossings - Salem

Events in Salem MA at Peabody Essex Museum
Co-organized with the National Gallery of Art, this exhibition features some 115 photographs - many of which have not been exhibitied or published previously - that offer a sweeping overview of the distinguished photograhier's articstic achievement, vision and drive.    
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

PEM Explores Innovations Inspired by Nature - Salem

Peabody Essex Museum Wild Designs Exhibit
This summer discover how creative innovators are turning to nature for new ideas and smart solutions to human challenges.  Wild Designs, on exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum, features works by artists and other creatives who are looking to nature and living systems for new ideas and creative...
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

AJH: Mother & Baby Support Class - Newburyport

Mother & Baby Support Groups at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport MA
Mother & Baby Groups Anna Jaques is pleased to offer free group classes for all mothers in our community to provide support, encouragement and advice on parenthood and answer questions that arise after going home. Mother & Baby Groups are facilitated by a Lactation Consultant/Registered...
10:00 am to 11:45 am

MFA: Casanova’s Europe: Art, Pleasure, and Power in the 18th Century

Museum exhibits at Museum of Fine Arts Boston MA
In the dynamic world of 18th-century Europe, people, ideas, and artistic styles crossed national boundaries. Salons rich with opulent paintings and furnishings hummed with intellectual exchange, gossip, and flirtation. To a person like Giacomo Casanova—smart and confident, boastful and scheming—the...
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Arts and Crafts for Little Ones with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh

Art Classes for children with Colleen Apostolos-Marsh
Certified Montessori teacher, artist and local mother, Colleen Apostolos-Marsh will guide your young artist in an exploration of color, shape, and texture. Using a variety of media, your child will be free to express their in a beautiful space while socializing and engaging in cooperative play.
10:15 am to 11:15 am

Ipswich Downtown Tuesdays

Ipswich Downtown Tuesdays includes great dininglive music, dancing & extended shopping hours for shopping Downtown Ipswich Tuesday evenings!
Ipswich Downtown Tuesdays includes great dininglive music, dancing on the Riverwalk  & extended shopping hours for shopping Downtown Ipswich Tuesday evenings!  Each week will feature live entertainment on the Riverwalk, making for a fun evening out for the whole family!
12:00 pm