As the weather turns warmer and we begin to spend more time outdoors, we inevitably increase the likelihood of encountering ticks. Even as I write this, ticks are already out in full force. Granted, tick bites are unpleasant, however, there are several ways to lessen your likelihood of acquiring such bites. More importantly, from a medical perspective, there are several things you need to know regarding tickborne illnesses, primarily Lyme Disease and Lyme Disease symptoms.
Lyme Disease is spread by deer ticks carrying the bacteria B. burgdorferi. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include flu like symptoms such as stiff neck, chills, fever, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and often the most tell tale sign being a rash. Such rashes can appear at the site of the bite days to weeks after the initial bite. Oftentimes the Lymes Disease rash resembles a “bullseye” with a center on the bite and a ring around it. This bullseye rash can vary from small to spanning several feet across the body. If you experience any of these symptoms and have been in an area that would potentially have deer ticks, or if you suffer a tick bite from what you believe to be a deer tick, don’t hesitate to call your primary care provider. Doctors use physical examination and blood tests to determine whether a patient has contracted Lyme Disease. It is important that you call your doctor as soon as possible if you believe you may have Lyme Disease, as the longer it is left untreated, the greater the likelihood of developing permanent arthritis, nervous system problems, and even heart problems exist. If caught early, standard treatment is simply a round of antibiotics.
Luckily, knowledge is power when it comes to keeping yourself at a lesser risk of tick bites and Lyme Disease. First, know that deer ticks are most plentiful in wooded areas, tall grass areas, or areas where neighborhood/suburban land meets the woods. Such bites are happening now! Peak season happens late Spring through early Fall, so vigilance is key. Follow these easy steps, and if you have any further questions about Lyme Disease or Lyme Disease symptoms, don’t hesitate to call our office at 417-485-4847! We would be happy to talk to you further.
How To Avoid Tick Bites:
– Wear long sleeves and pants when spending time in wooded areas or areas with tall grass.
– Use an insect repellent with DEET
– Inspect yourself, your family, and pets upon coming inside from time spent outdoors – the sooner, the better.
– The easiest way to inspect yourself is to shower and shampoo your hair, this will give you the opportunity to do a thorough check of your scalp.