Summertime is here, and after a long spring spent in quarantine, we understand how excited you are to spend time outdoors enjoying the warmth of the sun. However, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 is not the only thing you should be concerned about when you venture outside during the summer months.
This is also the season for tick bites, and every year, our arthritis specialists in Hamilton, NJ, and the surrounding region see patients who believe they might have been exposed to tick borne illnesses — Lyme disease, in particular.
While there are a number of different diseases that can be transmitted by ticks, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease is the most common tick borne illness in the United States. Transmission happens when an infected black-legged deer tick punctures the skin and remains attached for 36 to 48 hours. During this time, the tick injects harmful bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii) into the bloodstream, which ultimately manifests in the symptoms of Lyme disease.
We’ve listed those symptoms in the following infographic:
You should see a doctor if you’ve been bitten by a tick and experience any of these symptoms. A tick bite isn’t always a guarantee that you will contract Lyme disease, and removing the tick from your skin immediately can prevent infection. You can also prevent Lyme disease by practicing caution while spending time outdoors.
Here are some tips for protecting yourself and your family from Lyme disease.
- Avoid areas where ticks tend to live, such as long grass and wood piles.
- Choose lighter-colored clothing, as ticks can easily blend in with blacks or dark blues. Long sleeves and long pants are also advised. Be sure to tuck in your shirt.
- Wear EPA-approved tick repellent on your skin and clothing when you plan to be in a grassy or wooded area.
- Upon returning home from a nature walk or outdoor event, remove your clothes immediately. While your instinct tells you to throw your clothes in the washer, instead put them in the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes on a high setting. That will kill any ticks that might have attached.
At ARBDA, home to the top rheumatologists in South Jersey, we’re here to help patients experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, arthritis, or any other inflammatory or autoimmune condition that’s limiting their quality of life. We’re happy to offer convenient, secure eVisits to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, or see patients in person who’d rather visit our offices. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment today!