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Lyme Disease - Can A Tick Bite Ruin Your Holidays?

Sep 4, 2008
Travelers, campers, and vacationers alike can be at risk for getting Lyme disease, a serious, debilitating condition caused by being bitten by an infected tick.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease are the classic bull's-eye red rash, fatigue or loss of energy, feeling sleepy, tingling and numbness, swollen and painful joints, memory loss, and feeling like you are getting the flu. Paralysis of the face is a less common symptom.

Getting Lyme disease can make your life miserable and cause a lot of pain and suffering if it's not diagnosed and treated right away. The longer it takes you to see a doctor allows this disease to progress rapidly and it may not be possible to lessen it's effects.

How is Lyme disease spread?

Ticks bite and feed on animals such as mice, other small rodents, and deer. If any of these animals are carrying the Lyme disease bacteria, they can pass the bacteria on to the ticks. When people are bitten by an infected tick they may contract Lyme disease.

What steps can you take to reduce the chance of getting Lyme disease?

Since some people do not notice any symptoms for a period of time, prevention is always the best policy. When you are traveling through the spring and summer months to, or through areas where deer, mice, other rodents and animals reside, the following are some things that you can do.

When you are camping on holidays or vacation, you can lessen the number of ticks around your campsite by cleaning up any brush and leaves debris. Wearing light colored clothing helps you to easily see these very tiny black insects and remove them before they get attached to your skin. Make sure you wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck them inside your pants. Always tuck your pant cuffs inside of your socks. It is also a good idea to wear rubber boots as ticks are commonly found close to the ground. However, you may also get them in your hair if you happen to brush against any leaves on a low tree branch. Wearing a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat will help. Be sure to check your skin and scalp carefully as ticks can easily be overlooked, especially in your hair. Applying a DEET insect repellent to your clothes and exposed skin, as well as applying permethrin, an insecticide, to your clothes will also help.

How can you safely remove ticks?

Ticks that have burrowed and lodged themselves under your skin can be removed by using small-tipped tweezers. Make sure that you don't leave any part of the tick remaining underneath your skin. When the tick has been completely removed, disinfect the wound thoroughly with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Remember that you are not totally out of the woods yet as symptoms can take several days, even weeks before any show. Using tweezers is the only safe way to remove ticks that have attached or burrowed into your skin or scalp. Don't try to remove ticks using burnt matches, petroleum jelly, or alcohol as this will only make the ticks release more of the bacteria into your blood stream.

Please note that there is no vaccine available for Lyme disease at the present time.

According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) this bacterial disease is under reported, perhaps by more than over 100,000 cases per year in the U.S. alone. You can visit cdc.gov for more information on Lyme disease.
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