When you head out this summer, pay attention to some unwanted company: ticks.
Black-legged ticks, or Deer ticks, can transmit Lyme disease, a potentially serious illness.
Ticks hang out in wooded areas and long grass, waiting to catch a ride on your skin. If you pick one up along the way and they bite you, you could be in trouble if you don’t catch it soon.
Some ticks can transmit Lyme disease when they bite. The disease may immediately lead to symptoms like joint stiffness and pain or fever. If it’s ignored, more serious symptoms can appear. These include:
- Severe headaches or neck stiffness
- Arthritis or severe joint swelling, particularly in the knees
- Loss of muscle tone or “drooping” on one or both sides of the face
- Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Inflammation in the brain or spinal cord
- Shooting pains, numbness, tingling in hands or feet
- Extreme fatigue
Ticks can also hitch a ride on your pets, so be sure to inspect your dogs and cats for ticks when they come back indoors.
If there is a tick on your body or your pet, use tweezers to remove and dispose of it.
To find a tick, you’ll have to look. When you come in from outdoor activities, inspect your body for ticks and bites. Remove ticks that have caught a ride on your body and monitor any symptoms, because time is of the essence for treating tick bites.
The current treatment for Lyme disease is a comprehensive antibiotic protocol that works best when started within 72 hours of a known bite. It works for about 90% of people in curing the disease. Ten percent don’t respond, however, and may develop chronic Lyme disease, which has no cure.
The best treatment for Lyme disease is prevention. Do your best to cover up exposed skin if you’re heading out for a walk in the woods or through tall grass. There are plenty of lightweight options to help you stay cool during the hot summer months.