I don’t know about you, but ticks, and specifically the diseases they carry, scare the crap out of me. With 3 kids and 3 dogs, who all love to go for long romps in the woods and field behind our house, I feel like I’m constantly on high alert for those tiny little bastards. Just this weekend I pulled 2 ticks off of my 4 year old. Gah! Panic mode! My awareness of the seriousness of this issue is highlighted by having people in my life with Lyme Disease, including my dear friend Brit, who has been blogging about her experience. Seeing what they have gone through makes me pray that my children never have to experience the same.
But, as they say, knowledge is power. So here are a few facts that you need to know about Lyme Disease:
Perhaps the most important thing to know about Lyme Disease is how to reduce your changes of getting it in the first place. Unfortunately, tick-borne illnesses are often spread on teeny tiny, nearly microscopically small ticks, but following these steps will help limit your chance of exposure:
- Avoid tick-infested areas, walk in the middle of trails, treat skin, clothing and gear with repellents and tuck pants into socks.
- Perform tick checks anytime you are outdoors, even if your only exposure is in your own yard. Ticks can be as small as a poppy seed and may look like a freckle. Ticks like to attach around moist areas of the body, and can often be found between the toes, behind the knees, in the navel and groin areas, armpits, back of neck, skin creases, and in hair.
- If you find an attached tick, carefully remove it. Use fine-point tweezers to grasp the tick at the place of attachment, as close to the skin as possible. Gently pull the tick straight out, without twisting. Wash your hands, disinfect the tweezers and the bite site with an alcohol pad or similar disinfectant. Do not grab the body or use heat, oils or other topical agents which may cause the tick to expel potentially deadly pathogens from the gut of the tick into the host. Save the tick for testing in a small container or baggie labeled with the name, address, date and estimated hours attached.
The real key to beating this disease is awareness, which is why I joined up with the Lyme Disease Challenge and Took a Bite out of Lyme!
Ready to spread awareness and start fighting back against this terrifying disease? Join me and #takeabiteoutoflyme!