Lyme Disease: 95 Percent of Cases Come From 14 States
Where Are the Ticks Carrying Lyme Disease?
If you live in a state that is home to a tick population then you are facing the problem of keeping ticks off you, your family members, your pets and out of your home. It is not just a daily battle, but an hour to hour battle each time a family member or your pet comes back into the house from the outside world.
The CDC reports that cases of Lyme Disease are on the rise, with 30,000 new cases reported each year. They also report that close to 95 percent of those cases come from 14 states, which are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
You are not free and clear of tick bites that transmit Lyme Disease if the state you call home is not listed above. While the majority of reported cases of Lyme come from these states, the disease is not limited to these areas. Other states, including neighboring states to the ones listed above, also report cases of the disease.
The Tick Battle Begins
Keeping Ticks At Bay
The social media sites are filled with nightmare stories about people who contracted Lyme Disease without even knowing they were bitten by a tick. While it is said that you should look for a "bullseye rash" at the site of a tick bite as the first symptom involved in Lyme Disease, that rash doesn't always materialize.
There are reports of false-negative tests for Lyme Disease, leaving people who really do have the disease go on for long periods of time being untreated due to their tests results reading negative. One of my own family members woke up one morning to half of his face drooping and numb. He was rushed to the hospital with this stroke-like symptom.
It wasn't a stroke, but Bells Palsy that was brought on due to him having a later stage of Lyme Disease. He never had any of the flu-like symptoms and pain in the joints that go along with Lyme and he didn't remember being bit by a tick. These stories are abundant today as Lyme Disease is a tricky disease that manifests with so many different symptoms. The longer it goes untreated the more damage it can cause to your health.
So Tiny But So Harmful
If you are a dog owner and live in one of the states that are home to Lyme Disease-carrying ticks, then your plate is full when it comes to battling the tick problem. While some of the products on the market today are excellent when it comes to keeping ticks from biting your dogs, it still doesn't prevent the parasites from hitching a ride into your home on one of your pets.
The first line of defense for your pets is to use one of the many flea and tick products sold to repel the parasites from feasting on your dog. This will protect your pet but you will need to protect your family and your home from in-coming ticks each time your dog goes outside.
Each time your dog comes in from the outside it should be brushed for ticks before entering your home again. Ticks will crawl around on your dog for a good length of time before attempting to sink their teeth in for a meal.
Some people find a sticky-tape lint brush does a great job at getting the crawling ticks off their pet's coat. No matter what you use, a brush, a comb, or the tape lint brush, make sure your pets are cleared of any ticks crawling around on their fur.
It's a Battle to Keep Ticks Off People Too!
Now What About People?
Before venturing into the outdoors where you will be in areas that are known to harbor ticks, the CDC suggests using a repellent for ticks. They recommend: "Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone."
The CDC also recommends that you "use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents or look for clothing pre-treated with permethrin."
When you and other members of your family come in from the outside after walking in the woods you need to get in the battle mode. If you've been in the woods or in areas that have high grass or leaves all over the ground, your clothes should be removed as soon as possible once you get into the house.
The CDC suggests taking a shower and then use a hand-held or full-length mirror to inspect your body for any ticks. They also suggest throwing your clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes on high heat, which will kill any ticks that happened to jump on you for a ride. If your clothes are damp, continue tumbling them with the setting on hot for 10 minutes after they've dried.
This tiny parasite can cause so much havoc once it attaches itself to you, a family member, or a pet, so prevention is the key to keeping you and your loved ones safe.