Yes, the tick season is upon us once again. The checking/removing and above all, the worry. The worry is because of the dangerous, and sometimes fatal, diseases and illnesses that ticks are known to carry. Illnesses like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis and of course, Lyme disease can alter the health of you and your loved ones . This week our focus is on Lyme disease – what it is, what you need to know, and how to avoid becoming infected.
The skinny on Lyme disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread by tick bites. The bacteria itself is called a spirochete, and in the United States the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is Borrelia burgdoreri. The ticks that carry this bacteria are primarily found on deer. Lyme disease is not contagious through person-to-person contact, and a person that has Lyme disease can not infect someone else.
What do I need to know about Lyme disease?
The most important thing to know about Lyme disease is that it occurs in phases. Being a phased symptom illness, in some cases the infected person has no idea that they have the disease. Although Lyme disease does display certain symptoms, they may not affect each person the same way. For example, the early phase of the disease typically begins at the site of the tick bite with an expanding “bulls eye” shaped red ring, but only 1 out of 4 patients will never even develop this trademark rash. Other symptoms resemble that of colds and flu and often go untreated or are misdiagnosed such as swollen glands, headaches, fatigue and muscle and joint stiffness. The phases of Lyme are an early localized disease, early disseminated disease, and late disease. The latter phase can result in nerve damage and brain inflammation. Even though Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, it is hard to diagnose in many cases because in the later stages it doesn’t always test positive, and is also misdiagnosed and tossed off as a “summer virus” because of the similarity of symptoms to that of a virus.
How do I avoid being infected with Lyme disease?
There is currently no vaccine for Lyme disease, and the best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent a tick from biting you. Exercising safe tick practices for you and your family and having your property treated by a licensed professional to prevent ticks from entering and lingering in your backyard is the best defense against Lyme disease.
Safe tick practices include keeping brush and debris cleaned up and keeping your property mowed and tidy from overgrowth. Mosquito Squad of Columbia offers a barrier treatment that kills and prevents ticks on your property and thus minimizes your risk of being bitten by a tick in your treated area. Whenever entering a non-treated area with your family or pets, check carefully for the presence of a tick when leaving the un-treated area. Like the old cliché’ goes ” an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“, this rings true when it comes to preventing tick-borne illnesses and diseases.
The best way to protect yourself , your pets, your guests and your family is to eliminate ticks from your yard. Our barrier sprays are safe and effective and our rotating schedule will keep you tick free ( and mosquito free) the entire season.In addition, we have an intensive tick treatment which includes tick tubes. The optimal times for us to implement a tick tube program are in March, April, September and October.