Updated: Oct 19, 2021
With tick season being in affect and many people spending more time outside, it is important to watch out for ticks and the diseases they can carry, such as Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common disease transmitted to humans from other organisms in the United States, and affects almost 500 thousand people every year. It is contracted by humans through the bites of blacklegged ticks.
Typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and fatigue, as well as a characteristic skin rash that gradually enlarges and feels warm to the touch. If the disease continues to go untreated, it can lead to more serious health risks such as an irregular heart beat, dizziness, arthritis, and numbness in the hands and feet.
To prevent contracting Lyme disease, make sure you apply bug spray before going outside, avoid areas where ticks live such as wooded and brushy areas, and be aware of how to properly remove a tick if you have been bitten. Blacklegged ticks can be as small as the period at the end of a sentence, so it is important to thoroughly and carefully search for ticks after being outside. When removing a tick, use tweezers and make sure you are as close to the skin as possible and pull in a steady, even motion; jerking or being too far away from the head of the tick may cause the mouth parts to stay in the skin. When disposing of a tick after removal, flush it down the toilet or place it in alcohol to ensure it is dead.
If you have any of these symptoms or feel ill after being bit by a tick, contact your family healthcare provider at one of Memorial Hospital's Rural Health Clinic locations, visit Memorial Hospital's Convenient Care, or Emergency Room if the condition is serious.
Source: CDC https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/