It is that time of year again. It is tick feeding season and with the incidence of developing Lyme disease so high, it is important to learn more about this disease. The northeastern region of the United States is well known for its Lyme disease around this time of the year. According to the CDC, the number of reported cases of Lyme disease has increased greatly from 2001 to 2016. Each blue dot on the images below represent a case of reported Lyme disease based on county of residency. The incidence of being infected with Lyme disease is clearly growing every year and is something that we should not just ignore.
Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, is spread through the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease can occur during any time of the year. Nymph tick bites are the main culprit of Lyme disease transmission and they are most active between May and July. They are about 2mm in size, about the size of a poppy seed, so often times it is hard to detect them. Adult ticks are significantly larger and although they can transmit the disease as well, they are more noticeable. The adult ticks are more active during the cooler times of the year. Lyme disease bacterium is usually transmitted after the tick has been attached for a day or two. Early detection is especially important in preventing Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease Symptoms/Presentations:
Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash known as erythema migrans. If left untreated the infection can get more serious and spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system. The erythema migrans is often the identifying presentation when we think of Lyme disease. It occurs in approximately 80% of infected persons and develops on average a week after getting infected. The erythema migrans is also known as the “bull’s-eye” rash due to its appearance. It gradually expands in size and may feel warm to the touch, but is rarely painful or itchy. The erythema migrans is typically the first sign of Lyme disease and then the other symptoms follow.
Steps you can take to prevent Lyme disease:
Before you go outdoors you should know where to expect ticks. Ticks like to live in grassy, bushy, and wooded areas. Nevertheless, they can be found anywhere. Whether it be in the woods, the playground, or your own backyard, you may find ticks lurking around.
- Use tick or insect repellent on yourself, your kids, and your pets if going outdoors.
- When going indoors, give a thorough inspection of clothes and body for ticks. Be sure to check areas of the body that lack exposure, such as arm pits.
- Showering within the first hour of coming indoors has shown to reduce the risk of getting Lyme disease. It is also likely that you can wash off the tick(s) before it attaches to you.
Johnson Compounding and Wellness sells a number of products that can be used to guard against these tiny critters. We carry products that are a great chemical free alternatives to the available harmful chemical containing commercial products. These repellents can be used on both you, your kids, and your four-legged family members. Give us a call, or stop in if you have any questions about tick prevention!
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