According to the Erie County Health Department, Lyme disease is the most prevalent arthropod borne disease in New York State. Evidence suggests that Lyme disease continues to expand into the Western Region of the State, including Erie County. Although the number of reported cases each year, is relatively low (approx. 35 for humans in 2010–most recent data reported), it’s still important to be aware of these creepy crawlies and the danger they pose.
So, what is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused when an infected tick passes Lyme disease (a bacterial infection) to humans through its bite. (NOTE: Not all deer ticks carry Lyme disease.)
If untreated, the bacteria can pass into the blood. The blood will carry it through the body, settling in various body tissues. The spread of the infection can cause a number of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.
How can you prevent Lyme disease?
Prevention is the best medicine, so learn to protect yourself and your pets by taking the following steps before you go outside.
- Avoid places where ticks live. Avoid areas that are likely to be infested with deer ticks, such as shaded woods or grassy areas.
- Cover up! If you must take a hike through the woods or grassy fields, wear pants and tuck them into your shoes. Wear a long sleeved shirt and tuck it into your pants.
- Wear insect repellant. Insect repellants that contain DEET are shown to be effective in deterring ticks.
- Survey your body. Tick bites usually don’t hurt—and are sometimes hard to notice. That’s why it’s important to take a few minutes to check your body when you come inside for the night. It’s also a good idea to check your children (even their scalps) if they’ve been playing outdoors. And make sure you check your dogs and cats.
- Clear the clutter. Remove debris, piles of leaves and keep your lawn mowed. This will reduce the likelihood of ticks setting up shop in your yard.
It’s important to note that the risk of catching Lyme disease after a single tick bite is relatively low. However, if you think you have a tick bite, see a bulls eye shaped rash or experience any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, you should see a doctor. Treatment is usually a simple course of antibiotics if found early.
We hope you enjoyed this health and wellness tip from the staff at Invision Health. If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please post it in the comments section below.
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This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.
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