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With Ticks Invading, Lyme Disease is of Greater Concern

With tick season here and what looks to be a heavy year for ticks, it might be time to take a look at the worst aspect of the infestation – Lyme Disease.

Lyme disease is a nasty infection that is spread by ticks carrying bacteria. People can contract Lyme Disease if they have been bitten by an infected tick. However, most people who are bitten do not get Lyme disease.

Two types of ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria in the U.S. They are: Deer Ticks, which primarily spread the disease from the Midwest to the northeastern United States. The Western Black Legged Ticks spread the disease along the Pacific coast, mostly in northern California and Oregon.

As a precaution, people should remove ticks the instant they discover the insects on their skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control, infected ticks do not spread Lyme disease until they have been embedded in the skin for 36 hours or more. However, that is not an absolute.

One of the most telling signs of Lyme disease is a circular red rash at the site of a tick bite. This rash can spread to a very large size.

The rash can be accompanied or followed with Influenza-like symptoms. Those in the earliest stages of the disease often report headaches, joint and muscle soreness and fevers. The symptoms can begin from three days to over a month later with some not reporting any symptoms in the early stages of the disease.

If the disease is allowed to progress without treatment people may develop serious symptoms including:

  • Swelling and joint pain.
  • Tingling and numbness in your hands, feet, and back.
  • A lack of energy that does not get better.
  • Trouble focusing thoughts.
  • Poor memory.
  • Weakness or paralysis of facial muscles.

The main treatment for the disease is with antibiotics which most often eliminate the disease within three weeks.

However, as with most diseases, prevention is the best medicine. To prevent Lyme disease, people should take precautions to protect themselves from ticks. In times like these, the best way to avoid ticks is to cover as much exposed skin as possible when going outdoors and to immediately inspect the skin after working in an area thought to be infested with ticks.

In addition to covering exposed skin, an insect repellent such as the chemical DEET will help to repel ticks. Also, by ensuring pets are treated goes a long way toward avoiding ticks from entering the home.

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