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Lyme Disease Cases on the Rise: 10 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Family

How to take precautions against Lyme diseaseGrowing up I did not live in an area highly populated with deer. We knew of maybe two people exposed to Lyme disease, so it was not something we got overly concerned about.

However, last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000. This new estimate is a whopping 10 times higher than originally suspected, and it shows a large discrepancy between the real number and the number of reported cases.

It is time to start taking Lyme disease more seriously.

My family now lives in an area that is overrun with deer, and a few years ago a close friend’s son was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Fatigue and nervousness were his main symptoms. Without any rash, it was thought that the issue was psychological rather than physical, so it took time to reach a diagnosis. By the time he was diagnosed he had been exposed to Lyme for quite a while, taking longer for his body to recover. Luckily, today he is doing amazingly well.

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria (called Borrelia burgdorferi), which is transmitted to humans through the bite of teeny tiny black-legged ticks. One very common symptom of Lyme disease is a skin rash, though it is important to note that you can have the disease without having the rash. Other common symptoms include fever, headaches, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics given over the course of a few weeks. However, some cases can result in more serious symptoms or need more than one course of antibiotics. If Lyme disease goes undiagnosed or is left untreated, it can spread to the joints, the heart, and even the nervous system.

If you live in the Northeast or Midwest, or are visiting an area where deer ticks may be present, please consider taking the following precautions:

-  Wear insect repellent while outdoors, especially where deer may be present or nearby.

-  Wear long pants, long socks, and tuck in your shirt while outdoors, making it more difficult for ticks to get to your skin.

-  Put lemon eucalyptus or Nootkatone on your skin and/or clothes. Lemon eucalyptus is a main ingredient in natural pesticides. Nootkatone is a component of essential oil in grapefruit peels that is used in many products because of its citrusy scent. Studies show that it may be helpful in repelling deer ticks too.

-  Check your body, your children, and your pets for ticks daily. (Dogs can transport deer ticks into your home.) Look for tiny and dark dots, especially in body creases such as the armpits, groin, waist, behind the knees, hairline, and scalp.

-  Wash your clothes promptly in hot water after being outdoors.

-  Keep a sticky tape-type lint roller handy to remove unattached ticks.

-  If you see a tick, promptly remove it with tweezers, forceps, or a tick removal tool. Wipe the area with an antiseptic. Continue to check the area for a rash or inflammation.

-  Keep your lawn mowed and the grass short. Ticks prefer taller grass and shady, mulched areas.

-  Take a hot shower right after being outdoors.

-  Call your doctor if you get a fever, rash, or unexplained symptoms.

With the reality of Lyme disease being so much greater than originally thought, more efforts will be made to prevent the disease. This will include finding new ways to: kill ticks, stop ticks from being carried by other animals, and stop ticks from reaching humans.

Remember, a doe is not just a deer!

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic, USDA, Mother Earth News

 

Jessica also recently wrote:

Got Stress? Then You Might Also Have Adult Acne
The “Sport” of Grownup Bullying
Superstitions: Why a Lucky Charm May Control Your Fate
8 Ways Music can Help Improve Your Life
Hold the Sugar: How Your Diet can Affect Your Happiness
Got Stress? Then You Might Also Have Adult Acne
The Surprising Link between Health & Happiness

Read more from Jessica at FoundtheMarbles.com.  And be sure to follow her on Twitter too!

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