Lyme Disease Is on the Rise -- Here's How to Protect Your Family

Health Check 4

tickThis summer, we have been boating, hiking, to the beach, and on too many picnics to count. And I hate to admit this, but I haven't been very diligent about checking my family for ticks after a long day outdoors. So I found the new report about the increasing rates of Lyme disease alarming. Turns out, the ailment is 10 times more common than anyone thought. While only 30,000 cases are reported each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe there are actually more like 300,000. It's a serious situation, as Lyme disease can cause serious medical problems if not treated. Here is the best way to protect your family from the disease.

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How to prevent it:

  • Since people contract Lymne disease from ticks, it's important to know where you are most likely to run into them. They like moist, humid environments near wooded and grassy areas. Walking through any sort of vegetation could potentialy put you at risk.
  • If you go for a hike, walk in the center of the trail to avoid grass and branches
  • Use a repellent with DEET on your skin or clothing
  • Check for ticks after you've been hanging outdoors. If the tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, the chances of getting Lyme disease is really small.
  • If you find a tick, remove it with a pair of tweezers as soon as you can.

You should also be aware of the signs and symptons, just in case you don't notice a tick bite.

  • red, circular rash that keeps expanding
  • fatigue
  • chills
  • fever
  • muscle and joint aches
  • swollen lymph nodes


Have you ever had a tick bite?

Image via John Tan/Flickr

general health, illness


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IHear... IHeartCake

Can someone explain the proper way to remove a tick?  Also, aren't you supposed to save the tick and bring it with you to the doctor's office?  I believe the tick itself can be tested for Lyme and other tick-spread bacteria.

katyd... katydid620

I was diagnosed with lyme disease 2 years ago. I had always heard about it but NEVER knew how sick it could make you. For 6 months I was so sick and didn't know what was wrong with me. I went to my doctor crying, and was convinced I was dying. My lymph node was huge, I had shortness of breath, chest pains, it felt like someone had their hands wrapped around my throat, and eventually bell's palsy. My doctor listened to all my symptoms and decided to run a lyme test. I never knew I had been bit by a tick.  It was crazy how it all went away after being on the antibiotics for 20 days. It was very scary! If left untreated it can be fatal.

Jamie Murray

I live in an area where doctors don't believe Lyme exists in our area. But I was bitten by a tick over 10 years ago and I do carry the symptoms of chronic Lyme Disease, but because they don't believe in exists in our area, I can't get treatment. I can't afford to travel. So, not sure what to do.

anony... anonym00se

I have to admit, this is one thing I dislike about DD's school.

The school has a lot of grassy, marshy like area (it used to be a swampland). So it's prime tick area and ticks were really bad this year.

Because they are a green school, and we garden. So the area isn't sprayed for bugs. (which is probably a good thing).

They do do quick tick check on hair and exposed skin and we do a check every day.

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