With all the talk about Lyme disease lately, it could leave a person feeling uneasy. Ticks in some areas are very common; and some are so small that you may not notice them, even when they are settling in and embedding their head on your arm or leg. So what is a person to do in order to avoid Lyme disease?
It is important to know what you are looking for when Lyme disease is in question. Especially in the event that you do not actually see the tick that bit you (which happens often); and in more than 1/3 of cases, that first sign is the rash. But, how do you know you are looking at a Lyme disease rash rather than dry skin or eczema? Well, first of all, you should understand that the much publicized “bulls-eye rash” only occurs in about 9% of cases. This rash appears around the bite, or it can appear elsewhere on your body. However, no matter where it sets up, it could look like a bulls-eye with a red center surrounded by a whiter area encircled by another red rash. The rash may appear in stages, but when it occurs, the initial onset will be between 3 to 30 days after a bite.
Lyme Disease Symptoms To Look Out For
Whether or not a rash appears, you should be leery of any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, especially if they present with sudden onset or after spending time in a known tick environment. These symptoms can mimic other illnesses such as the flu, but it is important that you seek out medical advice if you experience any of the symptoms. Do not assume! These symptoms include but are not limited to:
Bulls-eye rash or other rashes at the site of the tick bite or anywhere on the body.
Chills, fever, or a headache
Muscle aches, joint pain, or joint swelling
Lymph node swelling
Bell’s Palsy (One-sided facial loss of muscle tone)
Deterring Tick Bites
One of the most important steps in deterring tick bites is being diligent. Make sure to always apply a repellent that contains at least 25% DEET whenever you are going to spend time outside, especially if you are in areas that are known for ticks. Wear long sleeves, long pants tucked into your socks, and closed-toed shoes. Choosing lightly colored clothing may help you spot ticks that have climbed onto you, but is not proven to deter ticks, as some people believe. It is also a good idea to carefully inspect your body and your loved ones and pets for ticks whenever you come inside. Taking a hot shower immediately after returning home can help also.
Avoiding Ticks in Your Own Back Yard
Certainly, when you are out enjoying nature, these are the best options you have to avoid ticks and the debilitating diseases they spread. When you want to enjoy your own backyard you have a much better option. American Pest offers tick control services to residents in our Maryland, D.C., and Virginia service areas. Our tick management program is effective at reducing the tick population in your yard and can be utilized as a stand-alone program or as part of our year-round Preferred Care programs. To learn more about our environmentally responsible solutions for ticks, give us a call today.