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Information every family needs to know.
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This publication was made possible by a grant from the South High Marathon Dance, with additional assistance from the Post Star and The Chronicle.

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If you take an attached tick off your body, SAVE IT and send it for testing!  Do not discard it.  Put it in a zip lock bag and send it to one of the tick labs for analysis.  They will be able to tell you what pathogens the tick was carrying.

In addition to the free testing (above), UMASS offers analysis (for a fee).  You can send ticks to the University of Massachusetts Zoology Lab for identification (209 Fernald Hall,270 Stockbridge Rd., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003).  The lab will report back to you in about a week to let you know if the tick was carrying pathogens, and if it had a chance to feed on its host. This information will help you and your doctor decide on the most sensible next course of action.  Visit their website for more information at  This service is free for MA residents, but others are charged a $50 for  three tests – for Lyme, babesia microti, and anaplasma.  (Additional tests incur additional charges.)

2.      Prevention is the best course of action. Spray your clothes – NOT your skin – with permetherin. You can store your permetherin-treated clothes in a plastic bag in your garage and reuse a few times before you wash and re-treat.  Wear light colored clothing, tuck in your pant legs and shirt tails, wear a hat, and do a full-body tick check when you come indoors.

3.      You can also throw throw your clothes in the dryer on hot for 10 minutes when you come in.  The heat kills the ticks.

4.      You may want to treat the perimeter of your property with permetherin spray, especially if you border wooded or grassy areas.  Permetherin kills ticks. (Do not use permetherin near streams, ponds, or other bodies of water.)

5.      Deet is effective at repelling ticks. It does not kill them.  Other compounds, such as picaridin and natural products containing oils of lavender, geranium, and chrysanthemum also repel ticks.

6.      If you have an attached tick, remove it as soon as you notice it. Using a “Tick Twister” removes it completely, painlessly and easily as it “twirls” the tick out of your skin.  Using tweezers  runs a HIGH risk of squeezing the contents of the tick into your skin.

7.      Do not believe the myth that a tick needs to be attached for 24-48 hours. You can get many diseases from ticks – some of them after a very short attachment. No definitive research has been done to determine how long it takes to transmit many of the co-infection pathogens, such as babesia, bartonella, anaplasma, ehrlichia, and others, but it is believed to be a short period of time.  The Powhassan virus can be transmitted in 15 minutes!

8.      It is also believed that if a tick attempts to feed on an animal (like your dog) treated with an anti-tick product like Frontline or Advantix, tastes the repellant and backs out of the animal and then resumes its meal on a human, then the transmission time for Lyme disease might be much shorter than generally believed.  Definitive research has not been done on this question.  Until it is, it is best to assume that there is no minimum “safe” time if you are bitten by a tick.

9.      Know your ticks.  There are several different species of tick in this region, and the ticks look different as they progress through their lives.  The TickEncounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island has a very good tick identification chart at

10.  While we have been principally concerned about the deer tick, it’s not the only tick that can transmit diseases. The Lone Star tick has been reported in eastern New York.  This is an aggressive tick, and can carry a variety of diseases. It is identified by the white spot on its back.

Share these informative brochures…

It MIGHT Be Lyme!  With dozens of symptoms, and widely varying manifestations, Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as many other conditions.  Use this handy brochure to check the symptoms of Lyme disease and the most prevalent co-infections.

Click to see It Might Be Lyme brochure in PDF format.  You can print it!  You can email the link! You can share it!

In his New York Times Bestseller, “Why Can’t I Get Better?  Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease”, Richard I. Horowitz, MD, offers a questionnaire to help readers do a self-assessment of their symptoms.  With Dr. Horowitz’s permission, the Lyme Action Network has excerpted the questionnaire and has made it available in a PDF that you can Download Here.

 Lyme Disease Straight Talk

 Q & A  

Addresses the most common questions pertaining to Lyme disease.

Click Here to Download Lyme Disease Straight Talk Q & A PDF

Ad-Hoc Committee for Health Equity in ICD11 Borreliosis Codes Calls for International Revision of Diagnostic Codes 


An international committee of experts is calling for extensive review and revision of the ICD Diagnostic Codes to more accurately reflect the realities of borreliosis infections.

Click for excerpt – 3.2017 UPDATING ICD11 DIAGNOSTIC CODES – J.Luche-ThayerAd Hoc Committee for Health Equity in ICD11 Borreliosis Codes Calls for Medical Coding Reform