After a long, hard winter, many of us look forward to seeing the many signs of spring. We love to hear the birds sing, the flowers start to bud and the crickets chirp the night away. However, there is one area of spring that we can almost certainly guarantee that no one looks forwards to – the return of ticks.
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that approximately 476,000 people in the US are diagnosed with Lyme Disease each year. But because Lyme Disease can be incredibly difficult to diagnose, experts believe that number may be much higher. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, so we felt it was a good time to learn more about this particularly creepy disease.
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection, primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks (more commonly known as deer ticks.) Not every deer tick has Lyme, they get it after feeding on an infected animal such as a mouse or deer. Then, they pass it along to the next animal or person they bite.
A popular misconception is that an infected tick must be attached for 24 hours to transmit Lyme, but one report has shown that it was after only 6 hours. The risk may be low on day one, but there is still a chance of transmission.
One of the scariest parts about this disease is the fact that it can mimic symptoms of other diseases. Patients with Lyme are often misdiagnosed with conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and other psychiatric conditions.
To prevent the contraction of Lyme Disease, work the following tips into active tick season (April through September) after being outdoors:
- Inspect clothing and pets to find any lingering ticks.
- Take a shower within two hours of being outdoors to help wash away any unattached ticks and conduct a tick check.
- As previously mentioned, Lyme is commonly misdiagnosed, so educate yourself by knowing the symptoms.
Don’t let ticks stop you from enjoying the beauty of the season. Happy Spring from Lions Pride!