This 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
- muscle and joint aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Have you ever had a tick bite?
Image via John Tan/Flickr