Whenever I go to Camp ASCCA, I normally ask the other campers their conditions. Many of them have physical problems, but one or two that I met last year have Lyme disease along with their special needs. While summertime is fun and all, it comes with its own peculiar dangers: From the start of May through the end of August, ticks are very active, and many ticks carry Lime disease.
Although Lyme disease can also be found in birds and other animals, the main carriers are ticks. To prevent Lyme disease, you can avoid being bitten by a tick. There are ways to prevent tick bites all together and still enjoy the outdoors, by knowing how to identify it and what you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen.
First, when you are outside, please wear knee high socks and keep the grass short. Stay away from the bark of trees and tall or long grass because those are their preferred spots to jump on you. Second, if you do not have knee high socks, then at least spray your legs with bug spray to protect them. Third, if you have a patio or yard, you can plant garlic, sage, mint, lavender, beautyberry, rosemary and marigolds. These plants are like repellent to ticks because ticks hate the smell of those plants. Finally, if you have any dogs or cats, please check them for ticks as well because they can be anywhere in your pet’s fur.
Lyme disease is hard to diagnose because it has similar symptoms to bipolar and depression. A lot of medical fields and medical schools actually believe there is no evidence of the existence of Lyme disease, which is one reason why doctors may mistake the symptoms for something else. For example, not everyone gets the target mark after the tick bite; some bites look like a normal rash. Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of rash, all of which resemble the symptoms of flu.
You only get Lyme disease if the tick is infected by Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is a bacterium that causes Lyme disease and is also known as Borreliosis. About 70% to 80% of ticks are infected and carry Lyme disease. After getting bit, you have a 50% chance of getting the disease.
You have only 30 days to get the medicine once you have been bitten by the tick that is carrying the disease. If you don’t get treatment in time, you are stuck with Lyme disease for the rest of your life.
More than 200,000 cases are reported per year. There are many famous people who have Lyme disease, such as our former president George W. Bush, pop singer Justin Bieber, and Youtuber Jessii Vee.
If you have dogs as pets, they also can get Lyme disease. However, although human symptoms are pretty bad, dogs have it much worse. They experience lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Kidney problems have been associated with Lyme disease as well. The symptoms in dogs start to show in two to five months. If you can catch it early, your dog can be better in no time with antibiotics. But if you do not get treatment in time, your dog will remain positive for Lyme disease for the rest of his or her life. Thankfully, there are tick prevention medication for dogs and cats, so make sure you give your pet the tick preventative every month!
Lyme disease is very serious and should be diagnosed better. It is a shame that some doctors misdiagnose Lyme disease because they believe Lyme disease does not exist. The month of May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, a chance for Lyme patients, activists, and educators to spread information on how to prevent Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
If you think you or a loved one may have Lyme disease, go to LymeDisease.org for a free symptom checklist and more information on how to protect yourself and get treatment if you think you may have it.
With a few preventative measures, you can enjoy the outdoors. Just be aware and be prepared!