May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, bringing the attention of the public to the tick season and the serious complications it can cause to humans.
Lyme Disease Cases Are On The Rise
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the next three months will see an increase in the number of people bitten by ticks contrary to other months of the year. During this period, vigilance is of utmost importance, considering the rising number of cases of Lyme disease.
More than 300,000 cases of the disease have been recorded yearly. This data has, in fact, doubled the number of infection in 2001.
Some people living in certain regions are more prone to tick bites such as the Northeast, upper Midwest, and the mid-Atlantic states. However, that is not to say that people outside these areas are safe. Camping or hiking also exposes people to ticks and therefore, Lyme disease.
So, how can people avoid getting Lyme disease without limiting their activities?
How To Protect Against Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be prevented by avoiding getting bitten by ticks in the first place. These small arachnids carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi that causes such infection, which can be passed on to humans through a bite.
People should be wary of tick nymphs that are abundant during the spring season. These ticks feed on small animals, but they can also cling to plants. If people brush against a grass where there is a tick, it can transfer to them without getting noticed.
With that in mind, it is recommended to wear long sleeves when hiking, camping, or when visiting grassy and wooded areas. Experts also recommend wearing light-colored clothing to spot a tick more easily.
A repellent with at least 20 percent of DEET (maybe labeled as N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is also effective. People should spray it on their skin and clothing before heading out on a trip.
After a trip, a tick check is also important. Those who are living in a high-risk area, such as the regions stated above and near the woods, should also perform a daily check.
Pets are also exposed to contracting ticks and diseases, so they should be checked regularly as well. Vets can guide pet owners on how to prevent their furry buddies from getting ticks.
On people, ticks like hiding in the armpits, on the scalp, in the folds of the skin, behind the ears, and the navel. They also like hiding where is a constriction due to clothing, such as in the waistline.
What To Do If There Is A Presence Of Ticks And Symptoms
As soon as it is spotted, the tick should be removed using a pair of tweezers. With a steady upward pressure, it can be removed without causing damage to the skin.
The CDC says that ticks should be attached for 36 to 48 hours before it can transmit Lyme infections to the host. It means that ticks removed under 24 hours should cause no harm, although, it is still recommended to pay attention to any symptom developing.
Lyme disease can cause rashes and flu-like symptoms. If any of these are observed, the person should see a doctor immediately. It can be easily treated with antibiotics if caught early, but it can develop into a more severe complication if left untreated.