The Best Foods to Boost Your Immune System

During the holidays and the chilly winter season, we tend to gather more often with others indoors. As a result, flu and cold viruses quickly make their way around. You can protect yourself and your family from illness by wearing masks, washing your hands, and getting flu shots.

However, you can also be mindful of what you eat and drink as a preventative measure to stay healthier. Consider adding the following foods to your diet to keep your immune system humming along—no matter what time of year it is.

Bluberries

These powerful berries contain antioxidants that have been proven to aid the respiratory tract defense system. Add 1/2 cup to one whole cup of blueberries to your cereal, oatmeal, smoothie, salads or yogurt every day.

Fish

Oily fish such as tuna, salmon, anchovies and sardines are packed with Omega-3 healthy fats that can reduce inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases and heart disease. It’s recommended to eat two servings per week at three ounces per serving.

Broccoli

This crunchy, dark green vegetable is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, true heros fighting for your immune system. Some studies have shown that 2-3 servings per week may help to reduce risk of certain cancers. Try adding one cup of cooked or raw broccoli to your meals at least twice a week for its health benefits.

Spinach

Another dark green vegetable, spinach is a powerhouse when it comes your immune system. It’s packed with vitamins A and C that are known to enhance immune system function, as well as carotenoids and flavonoids that help prevent the common cold in healthy individuals. Add two cups of dark, leafy greens such as spinach to your food intake every day to get the most benefit from its nutrients. Spinach is great cooked as a side dish or raw in salads and smoothies.

Ginger

Ginger is a slightly spicy, warming ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties. It can be cooked into your favorite dishes, added to smoothies, or enjoyed with a cup of tea. Ginger has been known to calm upset stomachs and soothe sore throats. Try adding a tablespoon of grated or chopped ginger to your next stir fry or soup recipe. If you’re feeling unwell, add a few slices to a cup of warm lemon water as a way to stay hydrated.


While we don’t suggest a restrictive diet any time of year, we do suggest being aware of certain foods. Consider limiting:

  • Fried foods
  • Fast food
  • Candy
  • Soda and sugary drinks
  • Alcohol and caffeine


Indulging in eggnog and pumpkin pie happens, so don’t be too hard on yourself this holiday season! Give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite holiday treats and allow yourself to truly savor them. Just keep in mind your portions and sugar intake and remember to eat a healthy, balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and lean protein.

Managing Diabetes During the Holidays

November is Diabetes Awareness month and an important time to talk about healthier food choices. During this holiday season, you can manage your diabetes while enjoying your family, friends and festivities.

What is Diabetes?

At its very basic, diabetes is a chronic disease where your body’s blood glucose is too high. When blood sugar increases, your pancreas releases insulin to manage the excess sugar. For those living with diabetes, their body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use the insulin as well as it should. For more information on the types of diabetes, check out our blog here.

How can I manage my diabetes during the holidays?

We all celebrate the holiday season in different ways, but it is likely that we all celebrate with food! To enjoy this time without overextending yourself, try to follow some of these tips:

  • Avoid or limit alcohol. If you have a drink, enjoy it with food to help balance blood sugar levels.
  • Consider carbs. If you want to have dessert, be careful with how many carbs you eat before the sweets such as bread, stuffing, and potatoes.
  • Don’t skip meals. Also, try to eat at the same times every day.
  • And don’t skip your favorites! ’Tis the season for family recipes and seasonal favorites. Have a slice of pumpkin pie or glass of eggnog and savor it! As long as you are mindful about the other food choices you’ve made throughout the day.
  • Keep exercising.Walks, stretching, and simple workouts approved by your doctor can help manage stress as well as your mood.
  • Prioritize sleep. The holidays can be both enjoyable and exhausting. When the body doesn’t rest properly, it has a harder time managing blood sugar.

Simple Swaps to Manage Blood Sugar

Just because you’re living with diabetes, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious, rich foods! However, you do need to be deliberate with your food choices. For those moments where you may want a healthier option, try one of the healthier swaps below.

Swap:

Chips and Dip for Veggies and Hummus

You’ll get at least one serving of vegetables and some protein from the hummus. Protein aids in regulating your blood sugar.

Mashed Potatoes for Mashed Cauliflower

You’ll get another serving of low-carb vegetables—just be sure to watch added butter or cream.

Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes for Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins and beta-carotene and are sweet enough without added sugar.

Green Bean Casserole for Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Rich in fiber, Brussels sprouts are a better option than the creamy, salty, deep-fried onion casserole.

Fried Turkey for Roasted Turkey

Deep-fried turkeys are trending, but they’re very heavy in fat. Keep your proteins as lean and clean as possible and opt for lean poultry or healthy fat filled fish such as salmon.

Pecan Pie for Pumpkin Pie

Still sweet and filled with festive spices, pumpkin pie has less sugar, less fat and more vitamins from the pumpkin puree.

One in three Americans do not know that they have diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that may have been present at birth, developed during adulthood or during pregnancy. It should be carefully monitored and managed as it could lead to injury or further illness if mismanaged.
If you think you may have diabetes or need help in managing your diabetes diagnosis, DFD is here to help. Reach out to your primary healthcare provider to discuss your options.

Take Control of Your Breast Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and a prime time to take your health into your own hands! No matter what your age is, you can take steps to lower your breast cancer risk and improve your overall health.

Healthy Habits at Every Age

The following recommendations should be considered no matter your age or gender.

  • Limit alcohol to one drink per day.
  • Prioritize proper rest and stress management.
  • Quit smoking for good.
  • Aim for 160 minutes per week of moderate-high intensity exercise. Consult your physician before starting a new workout program or routine.
  • Move and stretch your body daily. This includes walking, stretching and yoga.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits.

A woman’s risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a mother, sister or daughter who has been diagnosed.

What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?

Preventative measures, such as following a healthy lifestyle and getting regular screenings, can dramatically decrease your odds of breast cancer and other illnesses. Awareness and education are essential. Consider the following risk factors:

  • Smoking or using drugs
  • Drinking alcohol to excess
  • Taking birth control pills
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Women who don’t have children or have them after age 30
  • Women who have their first period before age 12
  • Women who start menopause later in life or who take hormonal drugs during menopause for longer than five years.


If you need help managing any of the risk factors above, contact your primary care provider to discuss your options.

Nearly 85% of breast cancer cases occur in women with no family history of breast cancer.

How often should I get screenings?

Screenings and other diagnostic tests will vary depending on your age, health condition and family history. However, you should absolutely visit your doctor annually for a physical exam and ask them what actions you can do for your breast health.

Additionally, it’s recommended that every woman perform a self-breast exam each month. Your breasts go through numerous changes throughout the month depending on hormones, stress, lifestyle and pregnancy. Get familiar with your breasts by performing a self exam the same time each month.

Check for texture and size changes on both breasts by:

  • Standing in front of a mirror, arms down and then arms raised.
  • Standing with arms raised, applying pressure with three fingers to breast and armpit area, side to side, top to bottom, and in a circular motion. Be sure to repeat on the other side.
  • Lying down on your back, one arm raised. Repeat the same motions mentioned above, feeling for any changes. Repeat on the other side.

If you notice any changes in contour, swelling, dimpling, puckering, or changes in nipples, contact your healthcare provider right away.


Takeaway:

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the United States and globally. Thankfully, actions such as preventative care, screenings, and lifestyle changes help to lower risk and detect any changes early on.

If you have not had a mammogram and are over age 40, contact your healthcare provider to schedule an exam. Your provider can also help you decide what changes you can make to your lifestyle that may decrease your risk of illness, including breast cancer.

How to Prevent and Identify Head Lice

Hooray, it’s back to school season! Your children may have attended in-person classes the past year or this may be their first time returning to the classroom at all. Either way, back together in school unfortunately means one unwelcome nuisance has the potential to show up too—head lice. Know the causes, signs, and how to treat an infestation so your child won’t miss out on any more in-person learning.

What are lice?

Lice are small parasites spread by close human to human contact. They are brown in color and are the approximate size of a sesame seed. Lice are highly contagious nuisance and can cause severe discomfort among children and adults.

The most reported symptoms are:

  • Relentless itching
  • A tickling or crawling feeling on your head, hair or body
  • Red bumps and/or sores that develop from scratching
  • Irritability and/or difficulty sleeping

 

Where can I contract lice?

Lice can be found in your hair or on your body. All lice are spread from being in close contact with another person who is infected. Be cautious in these situations:

  • At schools, daycares, playdates
  • During sports practices/games, other activities with close contact
  • Sharing clothing such as hats and jackets
  • Sharing hairbrushes, hair clips/ties, headbands, etc.

How do I know if I (or my children) have lice?

If you’re suffering from uncomfortable itchiness, it could be caused by skin conditions such as dandruff, eczema, allergies, or reactions to certain skin products. However, it may be best to check for lice as they are highly contagious especially if you have school-aged children.

Follow these steps to check for lice:

  1. Wet your hair/your child’s hair. This slows down lice so they’re easier to spot.
  2. Using a fine-tooth comb, part the hair. Lice combs can be found online and in pharmacies but are not necessary.
  3. Shine a bright light onto scalp. If you see tiny, brown insects moving or nits (eggs) fixed onto individual hair strands, you should seek a lice treatment immediately.
  4. If unsure, see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

 

How do I treat a lice infestation?

If you’re certain that you or your child has lice, it’s best to act right away. There are over the counter (OTC) shampoos and treatment kits to help with eradicating lice. There are also medicated lotions and shampoos that are prescribed by a doctor.

In addition to treating lice at the source, it’s also important to do the following:

  • Launder bedding and clothes worn in the two days before treatment
    • Wash with hot water and use a high-heat dry cycle
  • Wash backpacks, hats, jackets—anything that may have had contact with lice
  • Place sofa cushions or car seats into a plastic bag. Don’t touch for two weeks.
    • Lice will die within 1-2 days without human contact
  • Sanitize brushes and combs
    • submerge in a pot of hot water for up to ten minutes
  • Vacuum the floors in your home
    • Lice cannot survive without human contact or in a cooler temperature

 

Facts about lice:

It’s no surprise that there is a stigma associated with lice. However, it’s important to be armed with the facts.

  • Lice are not a sign of poor hygiene
  • Head lice do not carry viral or bacterial diseases
  • Lice do not go away on their own
  • Lice cannot “jump” from one person to another (they only crawl)
  • Treatments such as smearing mayonnaise, butter, olive oil or margarine into hair and scalp will NOT eradicate head lice
  • You do not need to fumigate or use harmful chemicals to clean your home.

To prevent a possible lice infestation, tell your children not to share clothing or personal items, be aware of any symptoms, and have a plan to quickly act if someone in your household accidentally contracts lice. Although it may be a headache to treat and clean, contracting lice is quite common and highly treatable.

 

How to Be Fire Safe This Summer

The summer season is in full swing and with it comes grilling, campfires and fireworks. Whether you’re in your backyard, at a friend’s house, or at a campsite, be sure to follow your local fire safety guidelines.

Cooking and Grilling

If you’re cooking inside your kitchen or outside on your grill, it’s important to be vigilant and to always cook safely.

  • Never leave anything that is cooking unattended. If you need to leave for any reason, always turn off the heat.
  • Use appropriate heating source. Use propane for a gas grill, charcoal briquettes for a charcoal grill, and wood logs for cooking over a firepit. Do not use fire starter logs or mix and match heat sources.
  • Be alert. Never cook or grill when exhausted, intoxicated or distracted.


Campfires

A cozy campfire is iconic to summer adventures. Maintain fun by keeping flames contained to prevent them from spreading.

  • Check conditions. Always check weather, wind, and fire conditions before lighting any fire. Note: Local ordinances may also require a permit.
  • Supervise children and pets. Do not leave them unattended near a campfire for any reason—ever.
  • Properly extinguish a campfire.Never leave the fire site without extinguishing flames first. Have a fire extinguisher, shovel with sand/dirt, and plenty of water nearby.
    • Drown your flames with water and stir with a shovel to make sure all materials and embers are wet.
    • Add more water if needed and stir again.
    • Repeat until everything in fire pit is wet and cold to the touch.
    • Pour sand/dirt over fire if flames get out of control.

 

Fireworks and Sparklers

Fireworks and sparklers are quintessential summer fun, but they are hazardous. When not properly managed, fireworks and their debris can cause sparks which can result in an unwanted fire or injury.

When it comes to fireworks:

  • Be cautious: they can cause burns, injuries and/or fires
  • Do not attempt to make your own
  • Leave them to the professionals

To keep things festive, watch a fireworks display from a distance and consider alternatives like glow sticks, ribbon dancers, confetti poppers or colorful streamers.


Be alert and responsible every time you cook in your kitchen, grill over an open flame, or build a campfire. Share this information with your children and always lead by example. In doing so, you’re giving them the tools to be responsible around fires in the future.

Keeping Your Kids Active This Summer

Studies show that over the summer kids can lose much of what they learned during the school year. By planning activities for your kids this summer, you’re keeping them physically, mentally and socially strong. The added structure to their daily routine is a bonus for the entire family.

 

Staying Active

Federal guidelines show that kids aged 6-17 need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every single day. This includes a mixture of aerobic and strengthening exercises recommended at least three days per week.

  • Aerobic: hiking, walking, skateboarding, rollerblading, swimming
  • Muscle strengthening: climbing rope/trees/monkey bars, tug-of-war games
  • Bone strengthening: running, hopscotch, jump rope

 

Brain Training

Exercising their brain is also critical to a child’s development. Help keep their problem-solving and critical thinking skills strong, so they’ll be prepared come September.

  • Practice: Go through schoolwork packets together
  • Creative time: write and tell stories, draw pictures, build structures with LEGOs
  • New Skills: DIY projects, gardening, cooking—anything to keep kids thinking

 

Social Skills

Your children can still grow their social skills this summer even when social distancing. Being around their peers in a virtual environment will help them learn how to express their feelings, thoughts, and ideas.

  • Camp: If open and safe to attend, consider overnight or day camp which provides social skills, physical activity and brain training
  • Classes: are they interested in dancing, drama, or learning to code? Sign them up! There are many online and virtual classes available
  • Friends: a neighborhood party is a great way to be social and be active outside—just be sure to maintain proper social distancing and safety guidelines

 

Having a structure and routine will keep your kids learning, growing, and free of boredom. Planning activities that you know your kids will enjoy are key to keeping them physically, mentally, and socially active this summer.

 

 

DFD Russell Medical Center expands primary care services in Bridgton

Additional health services offered through a partnership with Central Maine Healthcare’s Bridgton Primary Care practice.

BRIDGTON, Maine (May 18, 2021) – DFD Russell Medical Centers (DFD), a federally qualified health center that provides primary care services in rural Central Maine is expanding into the Bridgton community. As of July 6, 2021, the primary care practice of Bridgton Primary Care (BPC) in Bridgton and owned by Central Maine Healthcare will be transitioning to DFD Russell Medical Centers – Bridgton (DFD) to bring preventative dental care and behavioral health services to the Bridgton community in addition to strengthening access to high-quality, affordable primary healthcare.

DFD Russell Medical Centers first approached Central Maine Healthcare – Bridgton Primary Care with the idea of expanding healthcare access in Bridgton in 2019. Since then, the two organizations have been working together to determine how best to provide the services that are in highest demand in the Bridgton area –services such as dental care and behavioral health. The new partnership will add preventative dental care and integrated behavioral health and psychiatric services. In essence, the partnership has been formed for the health and wellbeing of the Bridgton community.

DFD Russell Chief Executive Officer Laurie Kane-Lewis considers the transition an important step toward improving the overall health and wellbeing of the Bridgton community.

“DFD Russell Medical Centers has been serving Central and Western Maine since the 1970s as a federally qualified community health center (FQHC) with a full array of integrated health services. Our staff and board look forward to expanding services in the Bridgton area and bringing the resources an FQHC can offer – such as patient assistance, community health workers, care management, psychiatric nurse practitioner, integrated behavioral health and preventative dental care – in one location in coordination with specialty care provided by Bridgton Hospital,” Kane-Lewis said.

Bridgton Hospital President Peter J. Wright, FACHE, shares her sentiments.

“The strengthening of our partnership with DFD Russell Medical Centers is great news for the Lakes Region. Their expertise in rural healthcare and their patient-centered approach will be a great benefit to our area. By working together, we will be able to provide more access to the high-quality primary health care, dental care and behavioral health services needed in our community,” Wright said.

Located at 25 Hospital Drive, Bridgton Primary Care provides family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine care. The primary care and internal medicine services currently offered by the Bridgton Primary Care group will now be offered by DFD. Providers at the Bridgton location will predominantly remain the same and patients will not experience any disruption to their medical services.

DFD Russell Medical Centers is a non-profit, federally qualified health center that has served rural Central Maine communities since 1979. Today, DFD is a leader in Maine, standing apart as a nationally recognized Patient-Centered Medical Home and offering pioneering, patient-centered primary care services.

How to Protect Your Skin During Sunny Summer Months

Each year two million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer—the most common form of cancer. This summer we may find ourselves outside more often in order to safely socially distance, breathe fresh air, and exercise daily. It’s important to remember that even though it may be cloudy or shady, protecting your skin remains a priority. Here are some tips to keep in mind while enjoying the outdoors:

 

Apply SPF: UV rays can damage or burn your skin any time of the year, not just in the sunny summer months. Even when it’s cloudy or cooler outside, apply an SPF 30 or facial moisturizer with SPF before heading out. Reapply every two hours and be sure to cover all exposed areas, including your face, hands, ears and neck.

 

Use lip balm: Your lips can be sensitive to drying out and cracking going from hot humid air to frigid air conditioning. If you already use lip balm, try swapping it out for a brand with SPF in it.

 

Wear sunglasses: Whether it’s cloudy or sunny, UV rays can reflect off bright surfaces and cause damage. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that block 99% of UV rays whenever you’re driving, biking, or gardening in the backyard.

 

Know your environment: In higher altitudes, you’re at a higher risk for skin damage from the sun. This is because the atmosphere is thinner as you travel higher above sea level. If you’re planning to go hiking, rock climbing, or any other activity in the mountains, be extra vigilant about wearing SPF, protecting your skin from the elements and wearing appropriate eye protection.

 

 

Sources: mdanderson.org, skincancer.org

 

 

Sleep Hygiene for Better Health

We spend approximately one-third of our lives sleeping, but are we sleeping well? Sleep hygiene refers to the quality of sleep as well as lifestyle habits, sleeping routine and environment. When we focus on achieving more quality sleep, we start to see our physical, mental and emotional health benefit.

How much should I sleep each night?

Recommended sleep amounts vary for different stages of life. Newborns and babies should sleep for 14-17 hours, toddlers should average 12-14 hours, pre-teens should get 12 hours, and adults over the age of 18 should aim for 7-9 hours every night.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, it could show up as these symptoms:

  • Sleepy during the day
  • Being moody or irritable
  • Unable to focus or concentrate
  • Increased appetite
  • Skin becomes dull; dark circles form under eyes

The average person sleeps less than 7 hours per night.

Why is sleep so important?

Getting enough quality sleep affects your health in many ways. While we’re asleep, our bodies rest and repair themselves from soothing sore muscles, processing data in our brain and building up our immune system. Good sleep also:

  • Regulates hormones
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Aids in weight management
  • Reduces risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke


Getting quality sleep each night also benefits your emotional and mental health. In fact, consistent, quality sleep has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

What can I do to get more sleep?

When we think of getting quality sleep, we usually think of the actions we do right before bed. However, all the actions and decisions we make during the day affect our sleep. To help make sleep hygiene a priority to your health, consider the following lifestyle choices.

During the day

  • Wake up at the same time every morning
  • Exercise regularly; move your body every day
  • Drink plenty of water; eat nutritious foods

During the afternoon

  • Avoid taking naps
  • Limit caffeine and sugar intake
  • Get exposure to natural light (it helps regulate your circadian rhythm)

During the evening

  • Turn off electronics 1 hour before bed
  • Avoid nicotine, alcohol and other substances
  • Create a ritual that promotes relaxation

Your relaxation ritual can include anything that makes you feel less stressed and ready to fall asleep. This could be reading a book, a warm shower, yoga or stretching, journaling, or listening to soft music.



Takeaway: Your actions and behaviors during the day affect your sleep at night, which in turn affects your overall wellbeing and quality of life. Creating a lifestyle that supports healthy sleep hygiene is important to your short and long-term physical and mental health.

If you have issues with the amount or quality of your sleep, contact your healthcare provider. They can help to determine any potential sleep disorders or other lifestyle changes that will aid in your health.

DFD’s Guide to Ticks

Tick counts have been on the rise in Maine and along with them tick-borne disease and illnesses. To keep yourself, your family and your pets protected refer to our tick guide regularly.

Identification

There are over 15 different types of ticks present in Maine. The most common are dog and deer ticks.

  • Deer Tick also called black-legged tick. The size of a deer tick will vary depending on the stage of its life cycle. An adult female has a reddish-brown body, while a male is dark brown. Deer ticks are known to cause Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan. These infections and diseases have potentially serious consequences if not treated immediately.
  • Dog Tick also called a wood tick. Adult female and males are a dark brown color with males sometimes having spots on its back. Dog ticks are not known to transmit Lyme disease.

NOTE: Dog ticks are NOT active in October and November. Almost all ticks found at this time are deer ticks.

Prevention

There are many things you can do to help prevent ticks from attaching themselves to you, your family or your pets.

Property

  • Clear leaf litter away from your house.
  • Move picnic tables, swing sets or play areas away from wooded areas
  • Stack firewood in neat piles off the ground
  • Create a 3′ barrier between yard and wooded areas using wood chips
  • Keep grass cut short; don’t let long grasses or weeds grow in your yard
  • Discourage wildlife (rodents, deer) from entering your property by cleaning up trash or food sources

Pets

  • Keep pets away from tall grasses, wooded areas or habitats where it’s likely ticks are abundant
  • Spray pets with a safe tick spray or bug repellant
  • Give your pets a vaccine or tick/flea preventative medication
  • Check your pets daily for signs of tick bites, attached ticks, or ticks hiding in fur. Be sure to look in/around ears, between toes and paw pads, belly and base of tail.

NOTE: If your pet has signs of fatigue, lameness, fever or lack of appetite, call your veterinarian right away.

Family

  • Use insect repellant whenever spending time outdoors
  • Wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothing to better see ticks
  • Tuck your pant legs into your socks if walking in tall grass or wooded areas
  • After being outdoors, place clothes in dryer on high heat for at least 10 mins
  • A shower will rinse off any unattached ticks
  • Avoid areas known to inhabit ticks

Tick Checks

Checking yourself, your family and your pets for ticks should be done consistently, carefully and immediately after spending time outdoors, especially in areas and during times when ticks are most active.

  1. Run fingers through your hair, hairline and through your scalp, feeling for any bumps. Use a comb to brush through hair, looking for unattached ticks.
  2. Check in and around your ears and neck.
  3. Carefully look between fingers and toes.
  4. Check behind knees and underarms—these are favorites for ticks as they’re warm and secure places to hide.
  5. Look around belly button, between legs and on your back. Use a mirror or have someone help you.
  6. Scan your entire body carefully, looking for anything unusual. Ticks can often resemble freckles or moles.

Removal

If you find a tick on yourself or your pet, it’s important to remove it immediately. Tick-borne disease and infections including Lyme, are usually transmitted within 36 hours of the initial tick bite. Act fast to prevent illness.

  • Using tweezers: Grab the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull up with even and steady pressure. Try not to twist or jerk while removing a tick as this could cause material to get stuck in your skin which may increase inflammation or discomfort.
  • Using a tick spoon/remover: Place the notch of the spoon tightly against skin close to the tick. Applying downward pressure, slide spoon toward tick so that it gets caught in the notch. Continue sliding the spoon against skin until tick detaches. Do not lift up spoon or try to pry away from skin.

Once tick is removed, examine the bite wound for any potential tick material left in the skin. Thoroughly cleanse skin with warm soap and water. Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.

NOTE: If you experience a rash, headaches, fever or flu-like symptoms after a recent tick bite, call your healthcare provider right away.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is the most reported infectious tick-borne disease in Maine. If not treated right away, there could be dangerous consequences to your health. Remember, your pets can also contract Lyme diseases and other serious infections.

Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • General unease
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Chills, fever

If left untreated or undetected, other more serious symptoms may develop. These may include:

  • Hot, swollen joints
  • Shooting pain
  • Paralysis on one side of face
  • Dizziness

NOTE: Most cases of Lyme disease respond very well to antibiotics especially if treated early.

Tick Risk

It’s important to know the risk levels associated with ticks and potential tick bites. The following information can also be found on Maine Medical Center’s Research Institute webpage.

Location

Low risk: Northern and northwestern Maine. Few ticks live in this region of the state.
Medium risk: Central and Downeast Maine. This climate is ideal for deer ticks to live.
High risk: Southern and coastal Maine. Deer ticks are established, reproducing and moving north.

Seasons

Low risk: Winter from December to March ticks are less active.
Medium risk: Late summer/early fall particularly August and September.
High risk: Spring, summer and mid-fall months are when deer ticks are highly active.

Property

Low risk: Urban areas and cities where there is little wildlife and trees.
Medium risk: Areas where there are some shrubs, leaf litter and bordering trees.
High risk: Wooded areas with active wildlife and lots of leaf litter.

Activity

Low risk: If you rarely spend time outdoors or if you only do during winter.
Medium risk: If you occasionally spend time outdoors, working or playing.
High risk: If you work and play outdoors often, especially in ticks established areas.