As the pandemic is easing out and the restrictions are being lifted, more and more people are heading outdoors.
Lyme Disease Likely To Increase In The Coming Months
Experts are concerned about an increase in Lyme disease and recommend sticking to the middle of the trail while camping or hiking as ticks are mostly found in the grassy, bushy areas.
Also, recommendations are to run a full body check-up on yourself, your children, and your pets, followed by an outdoor hiking trip.
What caused the threat of tick-borne illness:
According to Dr. Neal Shipley, the medical director of GoHealth Urgent Care, New York, people have spent the last 12 or 15 months mostly indoors, causing some negative impact on the mental wellbeing of both adults and children.
Now with life slowly returning to normalcy, people are going out to beaches or parks, and all such outdoor activities can put someone at risk of tick bites and illnesses associated with it.
What to know about ticks and tick-borne illnesses:
Ticks are small arachnids. They are blood-sucking and can vary in size from as small as the head of a pin to as large as an eraser.
They somewhat resemble a spider in appearance and can vary in color from brown to black. Followed in engorging in blood, their color can change to greenish-blue.
Dr. David Cutler, a family practitioner at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California, states that although tick bites can occur at any time of the year, they are most active during the ongoing summer season, between April to September.
Ticks are most predominantly found in areas with lots of grasses and bushes, woods, animals, and even in one’s backyard.
According to the data of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, tick-borne illnesses are one of the most common forms of vector-borne sickness in the US.
Although a record number of lab testing for Lyme disease are being carried out this year, experts say that there is awareness among the doctors about the disease.
Symptoms to look out for and available treatments:
Some of the common symptoms of tick-borne illnesses are fever, headache, chills, fatigue and a unique kind of skin rash called the erythema migrans.
Untreated Lyme disease can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system to cause further complications.
Lyme disease can be easily treated by antibiotic course for few weeks in case detected early, delayed diagnosis can cause the emergence of long term symptoms needing more complex treatment.
Ticks can also spread other diseases like hemorrhagic fever, Q fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, and Powassan virus.
These diseases can have symptoms like mild illness, hemorrhage, and in some severe cases, blindness and death.
How to prevent tick-related illnesses:
According to Dr. Dean Jacobs, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Medical Group in Santa Ana, California, tick-related illnesses can be prevented.
Jacobs implies that ticks love to hide in damp, warm places and on the body in areas like behind the knee, near the ear, hair, underarms, on the groin area, and near the waist.
Jacob also recommends thoroughly checking one’s pet dogs if they accompany the outdoor hikes. For protection, one can use insect repellant spray and stay on the middle of the track or trail and avoid going near the bushes.
Once the individual returns indoor, they should take a thorough bath to remove any tick before they can bite, dry clothes should be put in the dryer for 10 minutes in high heat and wet clothes should be dried in high heat for 60 minutes.
If one finds a tick on his or her own body, on their children, or pets, one should not panic until the tick is engorged and attached to the skin, as it implies that the tick has not bitten yet.
It can be simply removed by soaking a cotton ball in liquid soap and holding on to the tick. After 30 seconds, the tick will stick to the cotton and get removed. One cal also pulls it out using clean tweezers without smashing its body.