Lyme Disease Presentation at the Grange

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

t64The Westport Lyme Disease Awareness and Education Committee held an educational program on tick borne diseases on Sunday, March 29 from 2 - 4 p.m. at the Westport Grange #181 at 931 Main Road, Westport. This event was free and open to the public.

By special permission the committee presented the award winning film Under Our Skin, an Open Eye Pictures production by Andy Abrahams Wilson. This film follows six people who suffer from chronic Lyme disease focusing on their experiences with a medical system that is largely uninformed. Variety calls the film a well researched investigative documentary and favorably compares it to Michael Moore’s “Sicko”. The film has been an Official Selection at 6 film festivals including the Rhode Island International Film Festival.
Click here to view film trailer now!


Following the film, a question and answer period was led by 3 Westport residents who have extensive experience with Lyme disease and co-infections. In addition to educational materials from The Lyme Disease Association and The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, there was prevention information, research references, and Lyme testing information.  Also available was information for purchasing or making 'tick tubes', a highly effective method to cut tick populations in your yard.


For any persons interested in becoming involved in the committee’s educational and prevention efforts, legislative efforts or in forming a local Lyme disease support group, there were signup sheets at the presentation.


For more information, contact Barbara Smith at (508) 264-4841 or email


Defending Against Ticks


                The best defense is indeed a good offense, and so for those who continue to live in Lyme disease “ground zero” and love to be out in nature or in the garden, there are some precautions that are recommended. Be aware that there are no safe tick seasons.  Many people report bringing ticks in on their Christmas trees!


·         If outdoors for extended periods, check yourself every 3 hours. It has been commonly believed that the jaw must remain in you for 24 hours in order to have the bacteria transmitted, but that is now in question.

·         Tuck pants into tightly woven socks and cover head if working in overhanging brush. Wear light colored clothing to show up any ticks.

·         Use tick repellant containing permethrin on shoes and clothing which will last up to 2 weeks and several washings.  Some research has shown that permethrin is more effective than DEET. 

·         The most effective repellants that can be used on skin are Avon Skin So Soft Mosquito, Flea and Deer Tick or Lewey’s Eco-Blend Insect Repellant.

·         Before returning into the house, remove shoes outside and take clothing directly to the dryer and dry on high for 30 minutes before washing them. Ticks can survive a wash cycle and but are killed by dehydration.

·         Immediately check your body carefully. Some ticks are the size of a period at the end of a sentence and can easily be missed. A dry brush or your hands should be used on the skin to insure that you have detected any ticks. Have your partner check your back.

·         Shower and shampoo immediately in very hot water.

·         If a tick is attached to you, do not touch it with your fingers. The toxins can be transmitted through your skin. Remove the tick with tweezers or one of the many products on the market specifically for tick removal. Grasp it at the head and be certain that it is all removed.  Contact your doctor immediately to discuss the possibility of preventative antibiotics.

·         Save the tick in a plastic bag so that it can be tested for Lyme or other co-infections if you become ill.  Do not put it in alcohol.  Date the bag.

·         Ticks do not survive well in full sun, so remove any overhanging limbs.

·         Remove brush or leaf piles.

·         Mow lawn every week. Ticks tend to stay in high grasses and like the moisture in longer grass.  Do not sit on, climb over stone walls or lean up against trees.

·         Check your pets periodically throughout the day during tick season.  Keep pets off of furniture and do not have them share your bed.

·         Carefully check children playing outside every 3 hours. Place play areas in full sun and away from stone walls and high grasses.

·         Bird feeders and bird baths attract animals that have ticks.

·         One of the little known facts about infection-carrying ticks is that approximately 80% of them spend the early stages of their lives living on the bodies of field mice. Take measures to reduce the mouse population around your property


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