(August 22, 2014 ) Maple Valley, WA -- Around 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported every year, but the actual figure could be much higher than these after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that the disease infects 10 times more Americans, i.e. 300,000 people, every year. So far this year, several cases of the disease have been reported from different parts of the country.
"Since Lyme disease exhibits symptoms similar to a summer flu, several people fail to recognize it. The fact that there is no test to catch the disease in its early stages further complicates the diagnosis. Since the summer months see a rise in the number of cases of Lyme, it is best if people with flu-like symptom during these months consult a doctor as soon as possible," Dayna Slater, owner of Ovvio Oils that sells essential oils blends and natural insect repellent, said.
The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi is the cause of Lyme disease, and humans contract it through the bite of infected deer ticks or blacklegged ticks. While most people are at the risk of being bitten by ticks, those who spend more time outdoors are at a greater risk. The ticks often attach themselves to the less visible areas of the body like the groin, scalp, and armpits. In the next two days, the ticks will release the Lyme-causing bacteria in the host's bloodstream as it feeds.
Fever, fatigue, headache, and the erythema migrans rash are the typical symptoms of the disease. If correctly diagnosed with established laboratory testing methods, Lyme disease can be successfully cured with a few weeks of antibiotics. However, if the person fails to seek treatment, it can spread to the heart and the nervous system.
"The best way to avoid infection is by simply reducing exposure to the insect. With a few precautions, people can stay clear of Lyme," Slater said, adding, "We compiled a list of steps people can take to keep this disease at bay."
While the Lyme disease is more likely to rear its head during the summer months, people should take precautions around the year to not get bitten by ticks. Here are a few things Ovvio Oils recommends people to do:
- Avoid areas that are wooded, have brushes, or have tall grasses. Walk in the center of a trail
- To Prevent ticks in the yard, mow lawns, clear brushes and rake leaves regularly. Also, remove old furniture and trash from the yard
- Wear socks, long pants, full-shirts preferably in lighter shades. This will help in spotting possible ticks. For added security, tuck shirt in the pant and the pant legs into socks
- Use insect repellent on clothes and exposed skin
- Wash and dry clothes at high temperature to kills possible ticks
- Take a bath and carefully check for ticks on the body. If a tick is found, use a pair of tweezers to remove it
- Check pets for ticks daily, especially dogs. A veterinarian can also perform the check
- Use acaricide, a pesticide, to kill ticks on dogs. A repellent can also be used to keep ticks away from pets
People should remain alert for possible signs of the disease and approach a doctor if symptoms are suspected. By exercising caution, people can avoid Lyme and enjoy their summer to the fullest.