TICK, TICK, TICK...
The basics about Lyme Disease
According to the Lyme Disease Foundation, you can take action to reduce the risk of you or your loved ones contracting this ailment that can lead to vision problems, severe muscle and/or joint pain, liver and spleen abnormalities, digestive problems, heart malfunction and more. Here are their suggestions:
1. Avoid tick-infested areas, such as shortcuts through the woods, by staying on paths.
2. Dress properly by wearing light-colored clothes (allowing you to more easily see the dark-colored ticks), long-legged pants and long-sleeved shirts.
3. If walking in an area that might be tick-infested, tuck your pants legs into your socks.
4. Use EPA-approved tick repellents, being sure to wash off the repellent when you go inside.
5. Conduct frequent tick checks, both of your clothes and exposed skin. Upon going inside, check your full body, including scalp, ears and behind joints.
6. Check your pets for ticks frequently.
If you're looking for a place to avoid Lyme Disease, it won't be easy. Of the 50 states, only Montana has never reported a case of this ailment.
Don't know what symptoms to look for? Common early signs include:
Flu-like symptoms including stiff neck, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue
A unique, enlarging rash that could appear a day to weeks after the bite; it starts with a reddish bump about a half-inch in diameter at the center, and expands in alternating reddish and normal skin color, leaving a flesh-colored center.
On darker-skinned people, the rash could look like a bruise
Later signs could include:
Weakness/paralysis of limbs
Loss of reflexes
Tingling sensation in extremities
Difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
Light or sound sensitivity
Depression and other personality changes