Lyme disease season is upon us.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service reminds us that Lyme disease season is upon us. Read it here.
Even if you don’t live in Maine, you've got to to be aware of the danger. Lyme disease is carried by deer ticks, and deer ticks are active during warmer weather in many parts of the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a map showing the counties in the US where confirmed cases were reported in 2018. See it here.
You’ll note that most cases were reported in the northeast from southwest Virginia to Maine, and in the upper mid-west. But that doesn’t mean those of us in the rest of the country should shrug it off. Confirmed cases occurred in nearly every other state.
What’s the danger?
Lyme disease symptoms may include fever, rash, facial paralysis, heart palpitations, short-term memory loss, nerve pain and tingling, numbness, dizziness, shortness of breath, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and arthritis. Furthermore, the symptoms can be very long-lasting. If any of these symptoms appear, seek out a medical professional. Tell her if you’ve been outdoors in or traveled to areas where Lyme disease has been reported, if you’ve found a tick on your body.
What can be done to prevent it?
Since Lyme disease is carried by deer ticks, the nearly sure-fire way to avoid them is to stay indoors, but that’s not what we gardeners want to hear. So, you should:
- Be aware that ticks are around;
- Treat your body and clothes with an EPA approved repellent, following label instructions;
- Know that many repellents should not be used on children, so choose accordingly;
- Do the same for your pets (Yes, some pets wear clothes!);
- Stay out of the bushes;
- Inspect your clothes for ticks before you come indoors;
- Check your body for ticks - especially the scalp, behind ears, armpits, behind the knees, groin, waist, belly-button, and such soft hiding places.
So, with danger in mind, go outdoors and enjoy yourself!