May is Lyme Disease Awareness month. Now that the weather is changing, and the temperatures are
finally warming up, we will be spending more time outdoors. For our folks in the Grounds unit, it’s
business as usual when it comes to protecting themselves against Mother Nature. However, us lay
people need to be more aware of tick-borne diseases and how to protect ourselves. Each year, over
30,000 new cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Center of Disease Control. The CDC believes the
actual number may be 10 times what is reported. Learn how to protect yourself and your family.
Please see the FREAS SharePoint page under Safety for more information on this topic.
- Lyme disease is so named because it was first diagnosed in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
- Prevent tick bites using insect repellent and clothing that covers exposed skin.
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2-months old.
- If possible, avoid wooded & brush filled terrain, and tall grass or leaf litter areas.
- Make your yard less attractive to ticks by frequent mowing and removal of debris.
- In addition to deer, ticks often live on field mice who build nests in wood piles and gardens.
- Check your body, your family members and your pets for ticks after being outdoors.
- Remove any ticks from your skin as soon as possible. Use tick removal tweezers if possible.
- The tick most associated with Lyme transmission is the blacklegged deer tick.
- Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of a bacterium infected tick.
- The tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours for the bacterium to be transmitted.
- The is no evidence that Lyme disease can be transmitted from person-to-person.
- You cannot get Lyme disease from consuming infected animals such as deer and squirrel.
- Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and a rash.
- The classic bulls-eye shaped rash occurs on only 70% of the infected persons.
- If left untreated, the infection could spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.
- Laboratory blood testing is necessary to correctly diagnose Lyme disease.
- Test results must be carefully interpreted, and some patients can be misdiagnosed.
- Prolonged symptoms mimic multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- A misdiagnosis can delay the proper treatment as the disease progresses unchecked.
- Extended symptoms include a stiff neck, severe joint pain, dizziness and irregular heartbeat.
- If caught in time, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics.
- A condition called Chronic Lyme Disease has become more prevalent in the last ten years.
- The Nation Institute of Health is also studying the long-term effects of Lyme disease.
- For more information go to lymedisease.org
- For additional information check out cdc.gov/lyme/index.html