As we are in the middle of tick season, it is important to learn all you can about Lyme disease. This complex disease is often spread from ticks to humans resulting in an average of 300,000 new cases each year. Continue reading to learn more about this disease and how to keep you and your family safe by avoiding ticks.
What Is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. The bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi is what causes Lyme disease. Deer ticks are the most common carrier of Lyme disease. Infected ticks transmit it through their bites. Lyme disease can cause a host of health problems that are more common in other health conditions and diseases, making it very difficult to diagnose. A diagnosis is usually made based on the likelihood that the patient came in contact with a deer tick as well as the symptoms that the patient is experiencing.
Symptoms Associated with Lyme Disease
Just as with any other disease, the sooner Lyme disease is diagnosed, the better. Unfortunately, Lyme disease looks much like many others, which means patients are often misdiagnosed several times before the correct diagnosis is made. Depending on the progression of Lyme disease, symptoms range from mild to debilitating.
Early Signs of Lyme Disease
In 70-80% of infected persons, the Erythema migrans (EM) rash will form between 3 and 30 days after the bite. This rash usually forms where the tick bite took place and can spread to be as large as 12 or more inches in diameter. This rash takes on a bulls-eye appearance and rarely causes pain.
Other signs of early Lyme disease include:
- Neck pain
- Muscle aches
- Joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sleep issues
These symptoms are common in infected persons in the first 3 to 30 days of infection.
Later Signs of Lyme Disease
For months after an infected person is bitten by a tick, they can experience more debilitating symptoms.
- Facial palsy
- Nerve pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Light sensitivity
- Severe headaches
- Stiff neck
- Brain and spinal cord inflammation
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased hearing
- Pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Night sweats
- Back pain
If you were bitten by a tick and experience any symptoms associated with Lyme disease, you should seek medical attention right away.
Ticks are most often found outside in dark moist areas. They hide away in tall grass, logs, branches, and fallen leaves. If you live in an area where ticks are common, it is important to be aware of the steps you can take before, during, and after any outside activities to prevent tick bites.
Before you go outside, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.
- Become aware of all the areas in which you are most likely to encounter ticks around your home.
- Make sure to wear a hat and light-colored, thick clothing that covers your whole body. If you are frequently in areas where ticks are found, you may even want to consider checking out clothing that is treated with the repellent permethrin.
- Apply tick repellents such as DEET or picaridin.
While you’re out, it is best to avoid wooded and brushy areas where ticks tend to hide. Stay on trails and avoid venturing off into tall grass.
Upon returning from an outing, be sure to remove your clothing, examine it for ticks, and throw it into the dryer for 10 minutes. This will kill any ticks that you may not have found on your clothing. Then, take a shower and be careful to examine your whole body for ticks. They are most often found around ears, in hair, under arms, inside belly buttons, around the waist, between the legs, and around the back of knees. Then, carefully examine any pets that went on the outing with you to be sure no ticks latched onto their skin.
proof. pest control Is Here to Help
While peak tick season is summer, they are active year-round. At proof. pest control, our team of professional pest control experts knows how to keep your home and yard safe. Using organic solutions, we can treat your entire home and yard for ticks. When you participate in our Pest-Free Guarantee™ service, you can rest easy knowing your entire property is protected. We believe a healthy home is a pest-free home.
Call (888) 658-5191 or contact us online to learn more about how we can keep your home protected.