ALTOONA - Health experts say June is prime tick season. The State Health Department reports that last year, Pennsylvania had around 5700 cases of Lyme disease, which is spread by deer ticks.
In our region, Clearfield County had the highest number of confirmed cases at 308, and Jefferson County came in second with 236. The risk was more moderate in Centre and Huntingdon Counties and even lower in Blair and Cambria Counties.
At Blair Medical Associates, Family Physician Dr. Megan Hess says, "if you do see a tick and you know you were in the woods today, you're probably fine because a tick has to be attached for 48 to 72 hours in order to transmit. If the tick isn't engorged, it isn't big, it hasn't been sucking on your blood, then the likelihood of getting the disease is very, very low."
She says a single dose of an antibiotic after you've had a tick, can keep you from contracting Lyme disease. If you're having flu symptoms, signs of early Lyme disease, you need to take the medication for a week.
Health experts say the best treatment for Lyme disease is prevention-- avoid bushy and grassy areas, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and wear insect repellent containing DEET.