In the glory of tranquil summer days and long-awaited vacation, there’s a miniscule foe that’s causing massive concern—bloodsucking, disease-spreading ticks. Blacklegged deer ticks infected with Lyme disease are making mayhem in the northeast, mid-Atlantic, northern central states, and West Coast, especially more temperate northern California.
While approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected people develop a tell-tale “bullseye” rash, 20 to 30 percent do not—making detection all the more challenging.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, other early symptoms may include fever, headache, and fatigue. If diagnosed and treated early with antibiotics, Lyme can almost always be cured. If Lyme is not caught early, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Recommendation: Tick bite prevention is the name of the game:
- Use insect repellents with DEET, permethrin, or picaridin.
- Wear light-colored clothing that fully covers your arms and legs.
- Tuck your pant legs into your socks.
- Avoid tick-infested areas.
- Be sure to check yourself, your children, and your pets daily for ticks—and (very) carefully remove any you might find.