Lyme disease is still around, and it’s spreading, according to the Centers for Disease Controland Prevention (CDC). In the latest Emerging Infectious Diseases Report, the CDC says that a “geographic expansion of high-risk areas” is occurring, and that the uptick in diseases might be due to climate changes that favor tick survival or geographic dispersal of infected ticks.
“I think everyone agrees that climate change has something to do with it (the overall spread),” Dr. Alan Barbour told NBC News.
Though Barbour wasn’t involved in the study, he studies tick-borne diseases at the University of California, Irvine, and wrote a book on Lyme disease.It isn’t completely certain what’s causing the disease to spread, but what is for sure is that more people than before are at risk of being infected.
Researchers say the disease is gradually spreading from the Northeast to areas in the south, east and west. The CDC found “high-risk” counties in 17 states, including populous ones like New York and Pennsylvania. The study looked at reported Lyme disease cases between the years of 1993 and 2012.
“Our results show that geographic expansion of high-risk areas is ongoing, emphasizing the need to identify broadly implementable and acceptable public health interventions to prevent human Lyme disease,” the study says.
With increasing rates of ticks and their diseases, it’s important now more than ever to keep your eyes peeled for these things, especially after being outdoors. Even the CDC tweeted:
— CDC (@CDCgov) May 4, 2018
Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About Lyme Disease
- Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia. Transmitted to humans by ticks, the disease typically causes a red rash known as erthema migrans to occur on the body, an occurrence that is normally not itchy or painful.
- About 25 percent of people do not develop this common first sign of the disease though, and other common early symptoms include headache, fever, and exhaustion.
- If the disease goes untreated, a patient may experience joint pains and stiffness, severe headaches, and may lose the ability to move one or both sides of their face. Despite appropriate treatment, a minority of patients still develop joint pain and have problems with memory.
- There used to be a vaccine for Lyme disease, but the manufacturer stopped producing it because demand was too low. Research is ongoing to develop a new vaccine, but current prevention strategies include wearing covering clothing to prevent tick bites and using insect repellent.
- Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the Northern hemisphere. More than 30,000 cases of Lyme Disease are reported to the CDC every year, but some reports say it’s most likely much more common than that — 300,000 cases might be closer to the truth, Diagnosis of the disease is based on a combination of symptoms and possible blood testing for antibodies.
- Often, blood tests are negative in the earliest stages of the disease. Lyme disease was named as such because of a cluster of cases in 1975 that encompassed the Connecticut towns Lyme and Old Lyme.
- There’s only one way to properly remove a tick, and it’s with tweezers. (Here’s why the other tricks you may have heard of aren’t safe).
- Ticks don’t spread diseases immediately. Lyme disease can be transmitted after 24 hours, on average. However, other tick-borne diseases like Powassan virus require a much smaller window of time to be transmitted, closer to 15 minutes! That’s why it’s imperative to remove a tick as soon as you spot it.
- You should protect your family from ticks by wearing long sleeves and pants in areas where ticks live. Avoid wooded areas and stick to cleared paths. Check for ticks every 2 hours. Use a tick and insect repellent when camping.
How to Make a Natural Tick Repellent
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Protect you and your family from Lyme disease this summer with these homemade tick repellents made from natural ingredients.
Water-Based Tick Repellent
- 2 oz. apple cider vinegar
- 2 oz. water
- 20-40 drops of either geranium bourbon essential oil
* You can also use citronella, lemon eucalyptus, catnip, or any mixture of these essential oils totaling 20-40 drops.
- Add your desired essential oil(s) into the apple cider vinegar and mix; let it sit for a few minutes
- Once thoroughly mixed, add in the water and pour it all into a spray bottle
- Shake before spraying onto your skin and/or clothes before going outside
Lotion- or Oil-Based Tick Repellent
- 2 ounces natural lotion or liquid oil (you can make your own lotion or use jojoba oil)
- 20-40 drops geranium bourbon essential oil
* This recipe should keep for 2-3 months before you need to make a fresh new batch.
- Mix oil or lotion and essential oil together; add to a spray bottle
- Store in a cool, dark area when not in use
Stay safe this summer – naturally!
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