From 2001-2015, the Lyme epidemic has experienced aggressive growth. According to Doctor Christopher Braden, MD and spokesperson for the CDC, the reported cases of Lyme in the U.S. has tripled, but here’s what the CDC doesn’t want you to know.
This spread shows no signs of slowing in the coming year. The CDC has issued a warning that there is a significant increase in the transmission of tick-borne illness, including Lyme disease, for 2018. Therefore, it is essential that people be aware of the risk of Lyme and take the proper steps to protect themselves from ticks and tick-borne illness.
The Low-Down on Lyme
Lyme disease is notoriously difficult to identify and treat. Typically, Lyme is spread through a tick bite, which prompts the development of numerous symptoms. One telltale symptom is a bulls-eye rash at the source of the bite, however, few individuals recall ever seeing the rash. This is followed by fatigue, chills, fever, muscle and joint pain, weakness, and stiffness. Because of the non-specific nature of these symptoms, Lyme disease is frequently misidentified as other conditions such as Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or neurological disorders including depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
A major component of Lyme treatment is identifying the problem. Unfortunately, many doctors overlook or simply disregard the possibility of Lyme. Furthermore, even if a patient does receive Lyme testing, the standard assessment misses over 90% of chronic cases! Because of the great difficulty in identifying Lyme and subsequently treating it, the best method for combating Lyme is to take precautions against contracting it in the first place.
A falsehood has been spread and many believe Lyme disease is only in the north eastern regions of the United States. However, this is not the case. Lyme disease can be contracted throughout the nation. Therefore, it is vital to implement appropriate precautions and protections against ticks.
The following practices well help you protect yourself from tick bites and potential tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme:
- After returning indoors, always conduct a tick check on the skin, particularly around dark or moist areas and among hair
- If a tick is discovered, use proper removal technique immediately — Using tweezers, gently pinch the head of the tick where it is attached to the skin and pull outwards in a slow continuous motion. Do not twist or jerk the tweezers to avoid tick remnants being left in the skin.
- Apply tick insecticide containing permethrin to outdoor clothing
- Avoid walking through underbrush, tall grasses, and leaf litter
- Dispose of old cushions, fabrics, or furniture located in the yard
- Keep outdoor environments groomed by regularly cutting grasses low and using pesticides when appropriate
- When using insect repellent make sure it is at least 20 percent DEET
Because of the growing tick population and their increased dispersion across the country, the risk of contracting Lyme in this and the following years is increased. Protect yourself and others by taking the appropriate tick precautions and implementing the guidelines as outlined above. Remember that the best way to treat Lyme is through prevention.