Ask Dr. Dave About Whitetails: Lyme Disease

Ralph T. from Massachusetts writes to ask about Lyme disease. “I work outside and at times will get a tick on my body. Should I be concerned about Lyme disease every time this happens?”

Actually, the answer is “yes.” You should be concerned because Lyme disease is very debilitating if you get it. And one recent survey done in one town in Connecticut showed that 50 percent of the ticks there tested positive for Lyme disease. In years previous the rate was 20 percent.

Dr. Dave Samuel

Understand that the tick usually has to be attached for two days for it to infect you. However, the nymphal stage of ticks, found in mid-summer, are small and harder to see on your body. And they can carry the disease.

Symptoms are a skin rash (not always seen), headaches, fever, and flu-like symptoms. Antibiotics will solve the problem in most cases. But, since you work in the field, here are two good precautions you should take before you head outdoors. Spray your shoes and pants with Permanone, or get the Lyme disease immunization that is now available.

One last thing … the deer get the blame for carrying these ticks, but the truth is that mice and other mammals and birds probably are the worst culprits as far as Lyme disease is concerned.

If you have a deer question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at

Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 30 years.

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