Who Gets Lyme Disease And At What Time Of Year
Lyme disease is transmitted via the bite of infected ticks, which attach to any part of the body, but often to moist or hairy areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
While everyone is susceptible to tick bites, campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and other leafy outdoor venues are at the greatest risk of tick bites. As many a suburban gardener can attest, with the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving, too, providing ample blood meals for ticks. For lyme disease to be transmitted, a tick needs to feed on the host for 24-48 hours.
In the majority of cases, tick bites are reported in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But this can extend into the warmer months of early autumn, too, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. Similarly, a mild winter can allow ticks, much like other insects, to thrive and emerge earlier than usual.
Preventing Tick Bites And Lyme Disease
There’s currently no Lyme disease vaccine available for humans. However, there are clinical trials taking place in Europe and the U.S.
The best way to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases is to prevent tick bites. Check your provincial public health authority to find out where infected ticks are most likely to be found.
- Wear light coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants to spot ticks easily.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants, and your pants into your socks.
- Wear closed-toe shoes.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin to clothing and exposed skin .
- Wear permethrin-treated clothing .
- Walk on cleared paths or trails.
- Keep children and pets from wandering off paths.
- Avoid using trails created by animals , as ticks are often found on the grass and plants along these trails.
Do a check for ticks on yourself and your:
- Outdoor gear, such as backpacks
- Shower or bathe as soon as possible, as it can help you find unattached ticks. If you don’t shower or bathe, do a full-body tick check on yourself and your children.
- If you find an attached tick, remove it as soon as possible.
- To kill unattached ticks on your clothing, put dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes. If your clothes are damp, you may need to dry them for longer.
- If you wash your clothes, use hot water and dry on high heat. Ticks can survive a cold/warm wash cycle.
Should I Have The Tick Tested For Lyme Disease
No, testing a tick for Lyme disease is not helpful. It is usually not the tick you find, but the tick that you dont find that gives you Lyme. A tick that tests negative for Lyme may only give you false assurance. If you live somewhere with Lyme disease, it is best to assume that the deer tick that bit you is infected and can spread the infection.
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Can Other Bugs Give Me Lyme
Researchers have found spirochetes in mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects. But it has not been proven that they can transmit the infection.
A tick is uniquely suited to carry and spread Lyme disease. Spirochetes have co-evolved with ticks over millions of years. Tick saliva contains immune suppressors that help disseminate the bacteria throughout the hosts body. And, because ticks feed on many different animals, they can spread the disease widely.
Understanding Lyme Disease And Ticks
April showers bring tick season? Thats right, according to the CDCApril through September is considered the most active season for ticks. Like mosquitos, ticks come with their own dangers for people who like to spend time outside in the warmer months. One of the biggest concerns with tick bites is Lyme disease, which affects around 300,000 people in the US each year.
But what exactly is Lyme disease, and how do we know if were at risk? It all begins with a bite, says Kendra Richardson, MD with CaroMont Family Medicine – Lake Wylie. The bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, is the root cause of Lyme disease, and the transmission of the bacteria occurs through the bite of an infected tick, which is called Ixodes scapularis. This type of tick is more commonly known as the deer tick. In most cases, early symptoms of Lyme disease begin one or two weeks after a bite and can include fever, fatigue, body aches and headaches.
Another indicator of Lyme disease is the bullseye rash. This rash is identified by a red ring on the skin and develops in 75 percent of people who have been bitten by an infected tick. Dr. Richardson defines the bullseye rash as: an expanding red circular rash that must reach at least five centimeters in size with or without central clearing, or when the center of the rash appears to be clear.
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Make Your Own Tick Removal First Aid Kit
Making your own kit is easy and you probably have everything you need right at home. By putting together the kit, you wont have to waste time finding everything if there is a tick bite.
All you need is fine tipped tweezers, alcohol swabs, bandaids and a zip up baggie to keep it all in. You can even print out the New York State Department of Healths How to Safely Remove a Tick Opens a New Window. card and put in the baggie with the rest of your kit! Once you have your kit together, you can put it in a place where you will know where to find it.
How Do I Know If I Have A Tick Bite
Many people who develop the disease do not remember seeing ticks or being bitten. Tick bites commonly occur from May to September in North America, although blacklegged ticks can be active most of the year. Ticks sometimes move around on the body but they usually attach themselves to the skin and stay in one place. Before feeding, ticks look like small, brown scabs or freckles. After feeding, ticks may swell considerably, and could be as big as a raisin or a small grape.
Follow the link for more information about blacklegged ticks from the Government of Canada.
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Lyme Disease In Hawaii
While most Hawaiian Lyme patients have contracted the disease away from home. There are also military personnel who are getting infected all over the world and then being relocated to Hawaii. When they come back, they often dont know whats wrong with them, which means theres a greater risk of misdiagnosis.
If you think you may have contracted Lyme Disease, another type of Tick Borne Disease or been bitten on the island there are lyme literate doctors in Hawaii.
Dr. Ty Vincent at Global Immunity uses Low-Dose Immunotherapy to treat his patients. LDI is a treatment to help modulate the immune response in patients with Lyme, autoimmunity, PANS/PANDAS, chronic infections, and other inflammatory conditions.
Dr. Christopher Lawinski of Hawaii Whole Person Collective in Pahoa uses an Integrative approach. He also uses LDI in addition to ozone and other treatment modalities. Ozone therapy has been used for years to treat a wide range of conditions, and has gained recognition for its success in treating Lyme and Tick Borne Diseases.
Dr. Kristen Coles who practices at the Steelsmith Natural Health Center in Honolulu utilizes ozone therapy to support Lyme patients.
Dr. Allison Gandre Hawaii Natural Healing Center located in Kailua and Honolulu also uses an integrative approach of LDI and IV therapies.
Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.
The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in thehighly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.
If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.
Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.Am J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.
There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
People aren’t able to become immune to Lyme disease. So even if you’ve had Lyme disease, you can get it again. No vaccine is available currently to prevent the disease.
The FDA approved a Lyme vaccine called LYMErix in 1998. The vaccine was not 100% effective, however. The FDA still recommended preventing the disease in other ways. In 2002, the company that made LYMErix said it would no longer offer the vaccine.
To help prevent Lyme disease, follow these guidelines.
How Lyme Disease Spreads
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Infected blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours in order to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Most people get Lyme disease after being bitten by:
- nymphs, which are about the size of a poppy seed
- adult female ticks, which are about the size of a sesame seed
You may not notice a tick bite because ticks are tiny and their bites are usually painless.
Not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks are infected with the bacteria when they feed on infected animals like:
- rodents, such as white-footed mice and chipmunks
People and other animals can get Lyme disease when an infected tick feeds on them for long enough to transmit the bacteria.
More than 40 different types of ticks live in Canada, but only 2 types spread the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease in people:
Blacklegged ticks are most often found in or along the edge of forested areas. Tick habitats also include:
Ticks can be active whenever the temperature is consistently above freezing and the ground isn’t covered by snow. You’re most likely to encounter ticks during the spring, summer and fall. However, when conditions are favourable, ticks can be active at any time of the year.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body. The following are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease. But symptoms are slightly different for each person.
The primary symptom is a red rash that:
Can appear several days after infection, or not at all
Can last up to several weeks
Can be very small or grow very large , and may resemble a “bulls-eye”
Can mimic such skin problems as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, and flea bites
Can itch or feel hot, or may not be felt at all
Can disappear and return several weeks later
Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, you may have flu-like symptoms such as the following:
Weeks to months after the bite, the following symptoms may develop:
Neurological symptoms, including inflammation of the nervous system and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles
Heart problems, including inflammation of the heart and problems with heart rate
Eye problems, including inflammation
Months to a few years after a bite, the following symptoms may include:
Inflammation of the joints
Neurological symptoms including numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, and difficulties with speech, memory, and concentration
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
I Just Found A Tick Attached To Me What Should I Do
Dont panic. First, remove the tick with a pair of tweezers. Grasp the tick close to the skin and pull directly upwards until the tick comes free.
Try to remove the tick whole. If you do, it is likely the tick will still be alive and moving.
Place the tick in a plastic bag or other sealed container. Try to identify what kind of tick it is that bit you. An online tick identification chart, like the one from the University of Rhode Islands TickEncounter Resource Center may be helpful. If you are not sure what type of tick bit you, it is best to bring it to your doctor or someone else who can identify ticks.
Its important to remember that Lyme disease is not the only infection spread by deer ticks, and deer ticks are not the only ticks that can spread infections. After any tick bite, you should monitor your health. If you develop a high fever or chills, you should seek medical attention, and be sure to mention to the doctor that you have recently had a tick bite.
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How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted
Ticks usually live in woods or tall grasslands in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Ticks can become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi by feeding on infected wild animals, and then can spread the bacteria when they feed on blood from the host. Ticks cannot fly – they hang onto small bushes or tall grasses and are usually found close to the ground. They wait for an animal or person to pass near them and when the animal or person makes contact, the ticks attach themselves to the skin to feed.
In North America, Lyme disease is transmitted mainly by two species of ticks:
- Blacklegged tick , Ixodes scapularis.
- Western blacklegged tick, Ixodes pacificus.
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that there no evidence that Lyme disease can spread from person-to-person. Pets, especially dogs, can get Lyme disease, but there is no evidence that pets can spread the infection directly to humans. They may, however, carry infected ticks into the home or yard which may increase the chance of transmission.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious tick borne illness which can be deadly if not treated early. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a bacterial disease spread through the bite of an infected tick. Signs and symptoms of RMSF are fever, headache, and a rash. Antibiotic therapy for RMSF is usually administered for five to seven days, continuing for at least three days after the fever abates. If an affected individual is treated with appropriate antibiotic therapy within the first three to five days of illness, the fever usually subsides within two to three days. This is one of the diseases that ticks in Hawaii can carry.
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How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.
The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.
If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.
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How Does A Person Get Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick, which also is known as the black-legged tick. Immature deer ticks can be very small, about the size of the head of a pin adult deer ticks are slightly larger. Both can be infected with and transmit Lyme disease. Deer ticks acquire the bacteria by feeding primarily on small mammals infected with the bacteria, particularly the white-footed mouse. Deer ticks infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease have been found in Illinois. Areas in the United States where deer ticks are most frequently infected with Lyme disease are the northeastern United States , northern California, and north central states, especially Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, Lyme disease has been reported in almost all states in the United States as well as in many countries throughout the world.
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