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Lyme disease is a rising epidemic in every state in the nation.  The Lyme Disease United Coalition was formed to educate the public about tick safety.  Enjoy nature, but take precautions.  And, it is not just the pesky tick transmitting Lyme disease (Ld).  It can be passed by ticks, fleas, biting flies, Keds, Lice, and mosquitoes.

The bacterial spirochete can invade and infect any organ in humans and animals.  If not diagnosed early, if left untreated or not treated adequately, it may develop into debilitating arthritic, cardiac, neurological, digestive, or psychiatric conditions.  It can cause long-term disability or can even be fatal.  It can cross the placenta into the fetus, and its DNA can be found in breast milk.  It is called the “Great Imitator” for it mimics other diseases such as:  Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or an array of mental disorders.

Recognize the Ticks!

Some ticks can transmit more than one pathogen. The pictures show three of the common adult ticks found in the United States. Younger ticks that are smaller and less distinctive may also transmit disease.

Black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) can transmit several tick-borne diseases, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Lyme disease.

Lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) have been linked to ehrlichiosis and Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI).

American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) can carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted

fever and tularemia.

So what are you supposed to do to avoid contracting Ld – stay inside with the shades shut?  No!  

Mow your lawn, play at the beach, go fishing, hike in the woods, but take precautions:

Protection:

· Perform frequent, thorough tick checks – especially the scalp area

· Wear light colored clothes

· Tuck pants into socks or put duct tape around the cuffs.  If going into deep woods, wear layer of duct tape on lower pants, sticky side-out, to attract the tick to attach to the tape and not attach to your body.

· Put clothes into dryer for 30 minutes to kill ticks – washing clothes will not kill ticks!

· There are products containing DEET for skin – children 2 months old and older, use a 10% concentration but do not apply to face or hands – adults use 12-25% maximum

· There are products containing Permethrin for clothes—do not use on children—is a very effective product for adults and recommended for hunters.

· Consider using new DEET free repellents 1-800-219-9765 for 8 hours effectiveness (ask for Beat It bug spray)

Control Ticks around your Home and in Your Community 

Create Tick-Safe Zones. Many infections happen in your own yard!  Remove Leaf Litter and brush around your home and at the edges of lawns.  Place wood chips or gravel between Lawns and wooded areas.  Mow the lawn and clear brush regularly.  Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from yard edges and trees.

Apply pesticide to control ticks.




Signs that you may need to see a doctor immediately, if you think 

you have contracted Ld – remember 

most do not have the telltale bullseye rash, and there are two stages of Lyme disease.


Tick Removal

*Do not burn or use any substance on tick

*Do not grasp, squeeze, or twist the body of tick

*Pull tick straight out

*Grasp tick’s head close to skin with tweezers

* See a physician if unable to remove the whole tick

*Use antiseptic on skin

*Disinfect tweezers

*Wash hands thoroughly

*Always see a physician for possible diagnosis, testing and treatment—watch for flu-like  symptoms or rash

Hunters:  Beware of additional precautions needed to avoid contact from ticks on game.  Remove game from field with a tarp.  Hang game over bleach solution for ticks to fall into.  Wear plastic apron and gloves when cleaning game.

There are 300 strains of the Lyme bacteria in the United States and Canada.  All tick species, even the good old Dog tick can pass Lyme disease onto the human host. What’s more, ticks are capable of transmitting the infection 12 months a year, says Iowa State University entomologist Ken Holscher, “They do not reach the same level of development at the same time each year,” he explains, and thus the ticks that reach adult stages by the end of the summer can remain active as temperatures drop.  “It takes two things for a tick to survive in fall and winter,” Holscher says, “An available host – ticks aren’t picky – and relative humidity.”  During hunting seasons, ticks can be found in thick brush or on tall grasses. 

Signs and Symptoms

Early Stage: Symptoms may appear from 48 hours to several weeks after an infected tick bite:

· Flu like symptoms – fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headache, fever, chills, swollen glands, sore throat, stiff neck

· Only 1/3 of infected people may have a rash or a bulls eye rash.

Late Stage: (Chronic Lyme) These may occur weeks, months, and even years after the bite and the symptoms may come and go. Peak disease is associated with increasing numbers of spirochetes in the tissues while regression follows the antibody response. It is very cyclic and fluctuates in intensity so that symptoms are present on some days and not on others.

· Continued flu-like symptoms with swollen glands, low grade fevers

· Depression, psychiatric disorders

· Sensitivity to lights, sounds, motion, odors, blurred vision, or loss of sight

· Cognitive dysfunction, difficulty organizing or making decisions, memory loss

· Muscle pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, motor dysfunction, and paralysis

· Stiff neck, severe headaches, loss of balance, dizziness, poor coordination, Bell’s Palsy

· Irregular heartbeat, palpitations, heart block, chest pain, difficulty breathing

· Tremors, seizures, panic attacks, anxiety, sleep disorders, swollen joints

· Possible death without continued treatment

Most physicians are not educated in medical school about Lyme disease.  Call our offices to find a Lyme educated doctor in your region – (800) 311-7518 or email us at: LymeInfo@lduc.org

Lyme disease is a very serious illness.  It can cripple you, cause brain damage, blindness, and arthritic pain on an ongoing basis.  Early detection is very important.  With early detection there is a cure with antibiotic treatment.  Late-stage Lyme disease is incurable, and has lead to several deaths.  Long-term antibiotic treatment is necessary for late-stage.

Have fun in the sun, but do a tick check when the sun goes down!

For more information:

Lyme Disease United Coalition

Office:(800) 311-7518

P.O. Box 86

Story City IA 50248

Medical Information: www.ilads.org

Subpages (1): Lyme disease and PANDAS