Leaving Concrete Behind?

January 25, 2016

Wman Walking DogSpring and summer will be here before you know it, and so will tick season. The thing to note is that more and more counties are testing positive for ticks, and the diseases they carry (including Lyme Disease) each summer.

East coast, west coast, and stretching into the midwest, blacklegged ticks (and Western black-legged ticks) are spreading out. While global warming may be a factor, more so is the regrowth of our woodlands and greenery, which was once torn down to build the early settlements of our country.

You don’t have to go on a hike or a country picnic to get a tick bite. Dog parks, green belts, yards with natural style gardens—if you’re stepping away from the concrete jungle to enjoy some sun and greenery, you’re stepping into ticklands.

Prevention and awareness are key. Checking for ticks on your clothing and gear (and pets!), showering, using a mirror after being outside—that’s what’s being recommended. But, it’s not always practical, when any greenery may pose a risk. Certainly, wear long pants and sleeves, DEET, and avoid tall grasses when you’re really going out into nature or spending some time in grass (or, near wild animals, especially deer—last spring pictures of people (especially kids) and deer were all over social media—approaching deer is a pretty bad idea!).

Then, be aware. Watch for bullseye rashes, they often form from the site of the tick bite if you catch Lyme Disease, but not always. If you have fatigue, headaches, fever, muscle aches (typical flu-like symptoms) that resist usual treatment, consider Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease is often misdiagnosed—sometimes, the tick bite and rash are missed, or there is no rash, and since symptoms can take anywhere from days to weeks to appear, patients might forget that it’s a possibility (and many doctors don’t think of it, although awareness campaigns, especially about how ticks and their diseases are spreading, are on-going).

In addition to awareness and prevention, take action to strengthen your immune system. Even with a diagnosis, tackling Lyme Disease quickly is important. The longer it lingers, the more damage inflammation causes at joints and organs, leading to chronic Lyme Disease symptoms like joint pain.

Sleep, exercise, good nutrition—even specific immune support like colloidal silver help support you, and might ease your mind a bit—especially if you love the outdoors.

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