For those of us who live in the northeastern U.S. – particularly in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, the warm weather means it’s tick season.
Sure, there is a year-round risk, but April through October is prime time for ticks and Lyme disease. And this summer has the potential to be a particularly bad tick season, according to at least one expert.
So how can you avoid being infected? What should you watch out for if you or one of your kids is bitten by a tick?
Although most tick bites are harmless, several species can carry diseases including Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend reducing exposure to ticks as the best protection against Lyme disease and others tick-borne infections. Learn more about preventing tick bites from the CDC.
Lyme disease gets its name from Lyme, Conn., where the first U.S. case was identified in 1975. It is an infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium that is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
The condition can be difficult to identify because each person reacts differently, but often a bulls eye- or target-patterned rash develops three to 30 days after a tick bite. Also, infected people often develop flu-like symptoms such as headache, muscle and joint aches, a fever, sore throat or swollen glands.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose, and complications from untreated early-stage disease can include arthritis, neurologic disease and carditis. If you are concerned you may have Lyme disease, physicians in Jefferson’s Infectious Diseases Outpatient Clinic will ensure you are diagnosed correctly.