Summer is the time for being outdoors. Hiking, swimming, camping and other outdoor activities are popular hobbies for many during the summer months. However, the summer months are also the most dangerous time period of the year for exposure to ticks. In this article we will discuss prevention and warning signs for Lyme disease.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of a Black Legged, or Deer tick often found in the Eastern and Central U.S. and the western black legged tick in the Pacific West. The riskiest months for Lyme disease are May through September.
Preventing Tick Bites
Reducing your exposure to ticks is the best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other tick borne infections. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. Spending time outside, walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could potentially expose you to a tick bite. Chemicals such as permethrin, DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or lemon eucalyptus oil are known to deter ticks. When using any chemical agent make sure to follow the product instructions.
Check Yourself and Others
Ticks can be carried into your house on clothing and your body. Check your body and clothing for any unwanted passengers. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks. If clothing is damp a longer drying period may be needed. Cold or medium temperature water will not kill ticks. Make sure to check pets and children for ticks after coming indoors.
Shower soon after coming indoors. A shower within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce the risk of Lyme disease. Before of during your shower check these places for ticks:
Under the arms
In and around the ears
Inside belly button
Back of knees
In and around the hair
Around the waist
How to Remove a Tick Safely
With tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull gently and steadily.
Be patient. Ticks can “cement” to your skin.
Save the tick for identification if possible. Wash the bite with soap and water.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
In humans, Lyme disease often causes flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, Lyme disease can escalate to the point of attacking important tissues such as the heart and nervous system. Additionally, the body’s immune response can lead to arthritis.
The first sign of Lyme disease is a bull’s eye rash around the bite. Feelings of fatigue, headache, fever, sore throat, and body aches are often early warning signs.
If not treated with antibiotics, other symptoms such as joint pain, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, memory loss, mood changes, recurring rashes, paralysis of the facial muscles, hearth arrhythmia, and tingling and numbness may occur.
If you feel as though you or one of your loved ones may have contracted Lyme disease, contact your doctor immediately. If left untreated, Lyme disease can result in more serious neurological symptoms that can be difficult to cure. If you have any questions about Lyme disease more information can be found on the CDC’s website at the following address : https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html
Wishing you a summer filled with fun, family, and sunshine from everyone here at Southern Insurance Associates! We hope you found this article to be helpful and informative. Thanks for reading!