The spring and summer months are the perfect time for adventurous outdoor activities. However, it is important to always be wary of your surroundings and what you might track into the house—in the most unexpected places.
Lyme disease (LD) is a disease that is contracted from deer ticks. This means that an infected tick can carry the disease to any human or animal it bites. These ticks are small and can go unnoticed on the body.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives more information on how to prevent Lyme disease:
Before you go outside:
- Know where ticks are – grass, brush, wooded areas, animals
- Treat clothing and gear – you can use permethrin for protectant
- Use insect repellents – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered products are suggested
- Avoid contact – high grass, leaves, bushes
After you come inside:
- Check your clothing – if ticks are found, tumble dry on high heat for at least 10 minutes to get rid of them
- Check gear and any pets
- Check all over your body – prime spots are:
- Under arms
- Around ears
- Belly button
- Back of knees
- Between the legs
Symptoms of Lyme disease
If you think that you may have encountered a situation with a tick, you should take a look at the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
Early symptoms of LD:
- Fatigue and muscle/joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash – starts at the site of the tick bite and typically forms a ring around it, looking like a “bullseye”
Late symptoms of LD:
- Severe headaches, stiff neck, joint/muscle pain
- More EM rashes
- Facial palsy – loss of muscle tone in face resulting in drooping
- Heart palpitations
- Shooting pain, tingling in hands or feet
- Problems with short-term memory
It is very important to follow these safety precautions when going to and from your home. If found early enough, LD is quite treatable, and a full recovery is possible.
If you suspect an unusual bite with symptoms that accompany it, see a doctor right away. To find a doctor, go to bannerhealth.com/physician-directory.