3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease

 

Though the summer may be winding down, tick season is still in full bloom. So, until the first frost those who come in close contact with the great outdoors should still be wary of ticks, mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.

This season especially, hot temperatures and heavy rains in the northeast have made ideal breeding and living conditions for such insects. An larger deer population in the northeast also heightens the chances of exposure—as more people are coming in contact with deer that carry ticks possibly infected with Lyme disease.

One contracts Lyme disease when they are infected with the bacterium—Borrelia burgdorferi. This particular contagion is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected black-legged tick, seen here.

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These ticks tend to feed on deer, and are commonly found in wooded or grassy areas that are frequented by deer. [1]

After the initial bite, an individual infected with Lyme disease will start to develop a rash around the area of introduction. This rash is a red ring-like pattern, and known in the medical field as erythema migrans. Other characteristic symptoms of Lyme disease are fever, fatigue and headache. A collection of even 1 or 2 of these symptoms—especially with the inclusion of a rash—should prompt a visit to your doctor. Lyme disease can be treated fairly easily, but it is important to catch it before the infection spreads to other parts of your body.

If the disease spreads throughout the body to the joints, heart or central nervous system, it can be much more severe and difficult to treat. However, most cases are caught early—heralded by vigilant individuals.

If caught early, antibiotics can be used for treatment. However treatment can be more complicated if you have a pre-existing medical condition and include Intravenous methods of treatment. In rare cases where Lyme disease is not caught early, some studies have suggested that there may be a chance of experiencing symptoms again, even after one is cured. Reoccurring symptoms of Lyme disease is typically known as Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. Thought some CDC studies have suggested it may be possible, others have alleged that reoccurring symptoms are not possible and caused by other psychological grounds.

The best way to stay safe—is to avoid being bitten by ticks. But how can you avoid and protect yourself? With these 3 simple steps:

  1. Avoid prolonged time in wooded areas
  2. Wear protective clothing that covers areas particularly close to the ground, tall grass or bushes
  3. Treat your house, yard or yourself with insect repellant containing DEET. For more info on widely used and accepted repellants, see the Environmental Protection Agency’s website: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.

Over all, remember to check yourself, your clothing and your loved ones for ticks when you return from extended periods outside.


[1]Centers for Disease Control,2011  http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/on_people.html

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4 thoughts on “3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease

  1. Pingback: Summer in September | Lilac and Leather

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  3. Pingback: New Borrelia Bacterium Isolated | The Lyme FilesThe Lyme Files

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