Ticks and Lyme Disease

With the spring season in full bloom, it’s time to take a look at protecting yourself from one of the season’s smallest, yet most harmful pests: the tick.

We live in a naturally wooded area, where ticks are extremely common, and this year, they aren’t showing any mercy. We’ve all heard that certain ticks may carry Lyme Disease, but it’s important to recognize what the disease is and the symptoms it produces.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first indication of Lyme Disease infection is a circular rash, which appears between three and 30 days after a tick bite. “A distinctive feature of the rash is that it gradually expands over a period of several days, reaching up to 12 inches across,” they state.

The CDC also states that it’s important to note that if gone untreated, the rash may spread to other areas of the body.

Other associated symptoms in addition to the rash may include fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and other unusual pains throughout the body.

Typically, if Lyme Disease is caught in an early stage, it can be treated with antibiotics at your local hospital.

But what if there is no rash after a tick was present on your body?

A good rule of thumb is to consult your doctor if you discover a tick that has been present for more than 24 hours and has been less than three days since it fell off or was removed.

To better protect you against ticks and Lyme Disease, consider the following, compiled from LymeDisease.org:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when walking in tall grass or shrubbery; it is also a good idea to wear light-colored clothing, so that you may easily spot a tick, which is black or dark red in color
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting to your skin
  • When returning inside, shower and complete a thorough body check to make sure no ticks are on your skin; make sure to check your scalp and the bottoms of your feet
  • Check your bedding for several days after exposure to potential tick-infested areas
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you think a tick has been present on your body for more than 24 hours

If a tick has been on your body for less than 24 hours, it is safe to remove with fine-tipped tweezers by slowly pulling it straight out away from your body.

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