Today marks the beginning of Lyme Disease Awareness Month. A growing problem, specifically in the Midwest, Lyme disease was first discovered in 1977 when a cluster of cases was reported in the small town of Old Lyme, Connecticut. The locals began referring to the occurrence as “Lyme Arthritis” due to the persistent but not abnormal symptoms. Ticks, the culprits responsible for spreading Lyme disease, represent a life-altering problem for the many people that have not been diagnosed during the early stages of the disease.
Increasing nearly 100% since 2012 in the Chicagoland area alone, Lyme disease has now exceeded thirty thousand reported cases a year. In 2009, the CDC ranked Lyme disease as the 7th most notifiable disease in the nation, despite the fact that 90% of reported cases occurred in only ten states. Additionally, experts have estimated that as many as three times the number of diagnosed cases go undocumented each year. This is primarily because Lyme disease remains one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose. Symptoms range from a “bulls-eye” shaped rash to fevers, fatigue, and a variety of other flu-like symptoms. If you are experiencing prolonged flu-like symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor on whether you may have contracted Lyme disease.
The Midwest is practically the main hub for tick activity, with Chicagoland right at the center. There are countless parks and forest preserves within the Chicagoland area, not to mention your backyard. All these places are potential tick habitats. The more trees and tall grass areas, the more likely you are to come across ticks while enjoying the great outdoors. An American past-time, outdoor recreation is one tradition that we all love and never want to give up. Whether you enjoy hiking, sports, camping, or even swimming, you should always be on the lookout for ticks. Use bug-mist, wear long sleeves and tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks for added protection. It is important to check for ticks after being outside and to immediately remove any before they get the chance to bite you. Just a single bite from a tick can transmit Lyme if you discover a tick and believe to have been bitten, make sure to consult a specialist to avoid giving Lyme disease a chance.
Lyme disease is no longer something you only hear about, but very likely something that a close friend or family member has been diagnosed with in the recent past. If you have contracted Lyme disease and are fortunate enough to diagnose it while still in the early stages, Lyme disease can be treated very successfully through the use of antibiotics. But if left undiagnosed and untreated, Lyme disease can alter the rest of a person’s entire life. Resulting in constant fatigue, reduction in immune system effectiveness, and even diet limitations, contracting Lyme disease has been described as having pneumonia for the rest of your life. A truly serious problem, Lyme disease is a topic that despite its growing presence in our society, still not enough people are aware of, or know how to protect against it. Don’t let Lyme disease catch you or someone you know off guard, spread awareness of Lyme disease this month and keep a close eye out for ticks.
Mosquito Squad of Chicago is a mosquito & tick control services company that provides professional tick extermination in the Chicagoland area. Give us a call at Mosquito Squad of Chicago to find out how we can help you with your tick problem.