Lyme Disease Awareness Month 2017

05/01/2017


Ticks   
sign warning of tick habitat

 

Every May, we observe Lyme disease awareness month; thirty-one days dedicated to educating the general public about the effects of this common disease. Here you will find information on Lyme disease and chronic Lyme disease, in addition to preventative measures you can take to avoid disease-carrying ticks.

 

What is Lyme Disease? 

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of diseased black-legged ticks. Most people who have contracted Lyme disease experience flu-like symptoms, such as: 

  • Fatigue 

  • Headache 

  • Fever 

  • Joint pain 

It is also common to develop a rash at the infection site, that looks a bit like a bulls-eye. However, this rash is not necessarily a sign of Lyme disease. In fact, about 25% of people who contract Lyme disease will show no signs of a rash at all. The rash itself is typically not itchy or painful, and will appear anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the initial bite occurs. Most people who contract this illness will recover completely, so long as they seek help from a medical professional. Lyme disease is usually treated with prescribed antibiotics, over the course of 14 to 21 days.  

 

Untreated Lyme Disease 

Lyme disease can worsen if the initial symptoms are ignored, and go untreated. Patients may develop chronic Lyme disease (CLD), which is also known as post-treatment Lyme disease (PTLD). A wide range of symptoms may occur, including: 

  • Additional "bulls-eye" rashes outside of the infection site 

  • Irregular heartbeat 

  • Dizziness and shortness of breath 

  • Muscle, joint, tendon, nerve, and bone pain 

  • Severe headaches 

  • Short-term memory loss 

  • Droop on one/ both sides of the face (facial palsy) 

  • Arthritis 

  • Inflammation in the brain and spinal cord 

  • Pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet 

It is estimated that anywhere from 10% to 35% of people develop chronic Lyme disease after contracting Lyme disease. People living with CLD are said to have a worse quality of life than people with other chronic diseases, including those with asthma, depression, diabetes, and congestive heart failure.  

Treatment for CLD is usually focused on reducing the pain and discomfort caused by symptoms. Most patients will fully recover, but it may take months, or even years, before symptoms disappear completely. A very small number of people will never fully recover. It is still unknown as to why this happens.  

 

Preventing Lyme Disease 

In order to prevent yourself from contracting Lyme disease, you must protect yourself from ticks. Ticks thrive in moist, humid environments, and are usually found in or around grassy or wooded areas. You should be cautious whenever you enjoy outdoor activities, especially those that take place in or near the woods or high grass. There are certain precautions to take in order to have stress-free fun in the sun, including: 

  • Use the right insect repellent the right way (read more

  • Treat clothes and shoes with permethrin, a repellent that lasts through several washes

  • Avoid high grass when hiking; walk in the center of trails 

  • Thoroughly examine your skin and scalp for ticks after spending time outdoors 

  • Check your pets for ticks 

  • If you find a tick, remove it quickly and safely (learn more)

In 2015, 95% of all the cases of Lyme disease occurred within just 14 states: Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia included. If you have specific concerns about ticks around your home, be sure to check out our Mosquito & Tick Program. Our specially trained technicians are prepared to eradicate tick populations surrounding your property. They also provide preventative measures to ensure that not a single tick will bother you this spring and summer. Contact us today, and take back your yard.






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