What you need to know about Lyme disease

This weekend’s Health Link on Air radio program focuses on Lyme disease and other insect-born diseases of concern to Central New Yorkers.

“We are definitely at increased risk of Lyme Disease,” says Onondaga County Health Commissioner Cynthia Morrow MD. “What everyone needs to understand is that Onondaga county now has endemic Lyme, meaning that we should assume that we can get Lyme disease from deer ticks here in Onondaga County.”

In the show’s Public Health Today segment, Morrow joins Donna Bacchi MD, who chairs Upstate’s Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, to talk about the symptoms of Lyme. Fever and swollen joints are common, but the most distinctive sign is a rash in a bull’s eye shape. Avoiding ticks can help prevent Lyme disease. Consider tick repellents, and wear light-colored long pants when you are in nature so that you can see ticks. Remove your clothes and launder them immediately when you get home. And check your body, including your scalp, for ticks. If you remove a tick within 24 to 36 hours, you likely can prevent transmission of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Upstate’s director of volunteer services at the Community campus, Kristin Schofield developed Lyme disease during her college years, probably over the summer at her home in New Jersey.

Schofield started a Central New York chapter of the Empire State Lyme Disease Association, which provides a support group the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Onondaga Free Library.

Listen to Drs. Bacchi and Morrow on Public Health Today.

Listen to Schofield about the Lyme disease support group.

Tune into Health Link on Air from 9 to 10 a.m. Sundays on FM Newsradio 106.9, AM 570.

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