Yes, winter is almost upon us but spring will soon be here. With the change of the seasons, we will venture outdoors with our family, friends, and pets to enjoy the beautiful Maryland Spring.
But, as always, safety first.
Lyme disease is on the rise in Maryland and throughout the Middle Atlantic region. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced that the actual number of people diagnosed annually is more than 10 times higher than previously reported.
Lyme disease can be a devastating illness, so precautions and awareness are in order. Full information is at the CDC Lyme disease web site http://www.cdc.gov/lyme. Please note these key points:
- Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick, so be sure to check for ticks after walking in the woods or enjoying your backyard. Your pets may bring these ticks inside, so check them too, and ticks can go from them to you. It’s especially important to check your children.
- If you find a tick, remove it. The CDC web site tells how to do this.
- The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease are quite variable and somewhat unpredictable. You may see a tick bite on your skin circled by a red rash, but you may experience fevers, aches and pains, and headaches without ever observing the typical rash. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
- Laboratory tests can be helpful, but a blood test can be negative even if you are infected.
- Early treatment can be effective with commonly used oral antibiotics like doxycycline and amoxicillin. These medicines are often recommended for treatment after a tick bite before symptoms develop as they can prevent the full-blown disease.
- There can be late complications of Lyme disease. Be sure to tell your doctor of a tick bite episode if you are developing unexplained symptoms like joint pain, nerve pain, excessive fatigue, or even heart problems.
Check with your doctor for any concerns, and again, full information is at http://www.cdc.gov/lyme.
Let’s enjoy the outdoors, but please stay alert for tick bites and Lyme disease. Keep your family safe and protected.