Health & Safety
We hope you are healthy as well as Happy on Chappy.
To promote your safety, we offer these links to medical and health services on the island.
Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Located in Oak Bluffs
Martha’s Vineyard Whole Health Alliance A list of businesses offering health care
Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce Medical & Health Services Directory
The Edgartown Fire Department recently built a beautiful fire station on Chappaquiddick to serve the island. Call 911 in an emergency.
State law requires children under 13 to wear helmets while bicycling
As there is very little crime, the two dangers to keep in mind while on Martha’s Vineyard and Chappaquiddick are Ticks and Poison Ivy.
Watch out for ticks — tiny eight-legged insects that cling to branches, bushes and grass, waiting to hitch a ride on passing animals, including humans. Deer ticks are as small as a period on this page; wood ticks are larger, with light markings on their backs. Both transmit serious diseases. Tuck pants into socks and stay covered while in grassy and wooded areas of the Island. Every night, check skin and scalps — especially those of children and pets.
If you find a tick, pull it out. Put disinfectant on the bite. Always wash your hands after handling a tick. If the bite is red and sore after four days, or if you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms — see a doctor. If you go to a doctor on the mainland, make sure he knows you have been in an area where there are ticks. The faster tick-borne diseases are treated, the better the chances of a complete recovery.
Ticks may carry Lyme Disease. Also, ticks in Aquinnah, particularly at Moshup Beach, may carry Tularemia. Martha’s Vineyard is the only place in the continental US where Tularemia has been known to be carried and transmitted by tick bite.
Read about Preventing Disease Spread by Ticks
View the differences between the three ticks on Martha’s Vineyard: Deer Ticks, American Dog Tick, and Lone Star Tick.
Poison Ivy is a low-growing vine (which may climb) with three shiny leaves. During the fall season, its leaves are bright red and its white berries may be mistaken for bayberry fruit. It can cause skin inflammation at any time of the year.
You can get a rash from poison ivy from touching the plant, its vines, its roots or even smoke when the plant is being burned. You can get a rash from a poison ivy vine when the plant looks dead and dry in the middle of winter. You can also get a rash from touching something that got the oil from the plant on it like your clothes and shoes; your dog and cat. There is a lot of poison ivy on Martha’s Vineyard. It grows all over the island on the sides of roads, on the edge of fields and yards, along paths and near beaches. The best way to avoid getting a rash from the plant is to stay away from it and to keep your children and pets away from it.
If you get a skin rash from contact with poison ivy, don’t scratch it. Washing affected areas with strong soap as soon after exposure as possible can remove the resin and minimize injury to the skin. If the rash becomes inflamed, seek medication from a pharmacist or doctor.