WEST HARTFORD -- It is officially summer, and with that in mind, it is especially important to be on the lookout for ticks.
"It is unsettling, I’ve had Lyme disease, my daughter has had Lyme disease, and my dog, who is now deceased, has had Lyme disease, so it's something that I’m familiar with, and I do worry about," said Bernard Pelletier of West Hartford.
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station recently tested 2,600 ticks in Connecticut, and found 40 percent of them tested positive for Lyme disease, which is roughly 10 percent higher than what researchers have seen in the last five years.
"I'm careful when I go out, as you can see I wear long pants, and I do check myself," said Pelletier. "I usually take a shower when I go home, and it washes them off before they attach, and then you’re good to go."
Researchers warn June and July are peak months for tick bites, and tick bites that go undetected can lead to Lyme disease.
"It was awful, I didn’t know what it was I thought I had the flu," said Pelletier. "I had a low-grade fever, and just felt miserable, and I went down to the walk-in medical, and the guy looked at me under the light, and I had the tell-tale red ring, and he said 'oh you have Lyme disease'."
Doctors say early detection is key to preventing Lyme disease.
"If you have some degree of reasonably certainty that a tick has been attached to you for possibly 36 hours, or if you don’t know, and it could have been 36 hours, and you’re unsure, you might be a candidate to get antibiotics for that tick bite," said Doctor Jason Kurtzman of Go Health Urgent Care in Avon.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme disease affects roughly 329,000 people in America annually, and Connecticut saw 2,022 cases of Lyme Disease in 2017.
“Tick bites can happen anywhere especially in this area where it's pretty prevalent," said Doctor Kurtzman. "Tick bites happen in short grass, they tend to happen in the wooded areas around yards where there is thicker underbrush, but they can travel, and if you walk your dog they can bring it into the house.”