You’ve probably heard many times that you need to watch out for ticks because you’ll get Lyme disease. Is this really true? If so, how bad is it to get Lyme disease? Are my limbs going to fall off? Let’s take a look at the hysteria and controversy surrounding Lyme disease, and examine some practical ways you can protect yourself and your family.
The truth about Lyme disease.
First of all, not everyone who gets bitten by a tick develops Lyme disease. Though many ticks carry the harmful bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes Lyme disease, they are not guaranteed to have it. So, if you find a tick on you, don’t panic.
Another misconception is that everyone who gets Lyme disease gets the chronic kind that can last for years–and even a lifetime. The truth is, each of us reacts to this bacteria in a different way. For some, there is no visible reaction. Others may experience a round bullseye rash, fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. But after three weeks of antibiotics, all symptoms go away.
There is, however, a percentage of people who experience stronger symptoms that can last for years, and even a lifetime. This is usually in people who do not receive antibiotic treatments. In fact, 60% of people not treated develop recurring attacks of arthritis. And, on average 15% of people not treated develop chronic arthritis. Lyme disease can also lead to neurological problems which manifest as numbness in the hands and feet, shooting pains, and short-term memory loss.
Who is at risk of Lyme disease?
- People who spend a lot of time in high grass risk greater exposure to ticks.
- People who hike in wooded areas.
- Children and young adults are more likely to get Lyme disease.
- If you find a tick on you, use a tick removal kit, tweezers or pliers to get the entire tick out. It takes 24-48 hours for a Lyme disease producing amount of Borrelia burgdorferi to enter the body. Catching ticks early can prevent this disease.
- Keeping the grass cut in your yard will reduce tick populations.
- Regular tick treatments from a pest professional can fully eliminate ticks.
- Wear insect repellent when traveling in the woods or tall grass. Put your pants inside your socks. Wear light clothing so ticks can be easily seen. And, wear a hat.
So, is Lyme disease a big deal? It can be, for some. But of all the tips mentioned here, it is important to note that you’re going to be mostly safe if you simply check for ticks and remove them early. There is no need for hysteria–well, not yet anyway. But it is a good idea to stay vigilant. It is also a good idea to protect what you can protect. Keep your yard safe and be cautious when visiting friends and family. If you do this, you should be fine.
Contact us for more information on ticks in Georgia and Active Pest Control‘ pest control services for ticks.
Is Lyme Disease Really A Big Deal? in Georgia
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