Healthcheck: Tips to prevent Lyme disease

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A local doctor, who once had the Lyme disease himself, has advice to help prevent infection. (WPVI)

If you spend any time outdoors this summer, especially in wooded areas, you're at risk for Lyme disease. A local doctor, who once had the disease himself, has advice to help prevent infection.

Dr. Robert Fischer is an infectious disease expert at Einstein Medical Center.

Years ago, after spending time in the Poconos, he says he didn't take his own advice.

"When I got home, I neglected to do a tick check," said Dr. Fischer.

A week later he developed a severe headache, muscle aches and a high fever.

"I was sick as a dog for five days and on the fifth day, I noticed I had large, red blotches all over my body," said Dr. Fischer.

He says that it was a less-commonly seen rash that signifies Lyme disease.

One third of cases come with a bulls-eye type rash.

"Two-thirds will have a large red blotch. It can be round, oval, somewhat irregular but it's fairly large five to 10, sometimes 15 inches in size," said Dr. Fischer.

Lyme disease is treated with two to four weeks of antibiotics but effects can linger.

Prevention is key. Use insect repellant with DEET and wear long sleeves and pants.

There is also a grace period. If you find and remove a tick within 48 to 72 hours, it can't transmit the disease.

"If you can find ticks and remove them, you are safe," said Dr. Fischer.

As for the best way to remove a tick, you should grasp it with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull it out.

There may be small parts left but Dr. Fischer says those parts can't make you sick.
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