Ticks and Lyme DiseaseAdd to My Luxx Living
Ticks and Lyme Disease
By Betsy Wild
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme disease is one of the fastest spreading infectious diseases in the United States. Finally it’s starting to get some of the press it deserves.
Deer ticks in the Northeast carry the illness, where 90% of all US cases are reported. Lyme disease has become more prevalent partly because suburban neighborhoods have expanded into wooded areas where ticks thrive. Deer ticks are carried by deer, mice and pets and are about the size of a poppy seed. If a tick bites you, remove it right away, identify it and have it tested if you suspect a deer tick. One in four nymphal deer ticks can infect you with some kind of disease if they feed for more than 36 hours.
I had Lyme disease a few year ago and was the sickest I have ever been. I was one of the lucky ones however, with obvious flu-like symptoms and a bull’s eye rash and was able to get on antibiotics right away, which cured it. But some people don’t get the rash and it’s easy to confuse body aches and fevers with other diseases. Blood tests are often inaccurate too.
English: Erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye” from Lyme disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As with anything else, prevention is your best medicine.
What you can do to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease:
- Avoid being bitten by a tick, which is most plentiful where woodlands transition into fields, meadows or yards.
- Avoid tall grasses.
- Avoid deer paths in the woods, which are usually loaded with ticks.
- Avoid places where mice are abundant like leaf litter, woodpiles, mulch beds, gardens, rock walls.
- When you are in high tick area, wear light-colored clothing to spot them easier.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with your pants tucked into your socks when working outside or hiking in tick-infested areas.
- Use insect repellant.
- Walk in the center of trails.
- Always do tick checks after being outside in a high deer tick area. Magnifying glasses help with spotting deer ticks.
- Showering after being in a tick-infested area is helpful.
- Putting your clothes in a dryer at high heat for 35 minutes will kill ticks. Most ticks are very sensitive to heat.
- Take garlic supplements daily to help repel insects and ticks.
- Treat pets to minimize risk. Pets can bring ticks into the house.
Cultural Practices you can do in your yard to help eliminate ticks:
- Mow along boundary lines of your yard.
- Keep grass mowed regularly.
- Install a low brick wall where your yard ends and woods begin.
- In high tick areas, get guinea hens – they eat deer tick.
The University of Rhode Island has the most informative and comprehensive website – tickencounter.org – on deer ticks that I have seen.
Be vigilant and don’t let ticks ruin your summer
Related PostsJanuary 12, 2015