bad summer, Lyme, tick

This may be an especially bad summer for Lyme disease, according to disease ecologists. This disease is caused by a spirochete transmitted by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

Why Will 2017 Be a Bad Summer?

Why are experts worried that 2017 might be intense? The spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, includes white-footed mice as well as white-tailed deer and black-legged ticks in its life cycle. The population of mice in northeastern states has just exploded. As a result, the chance of being exposed to an infected tick has increased as well.

Lyme Disease Is Spreading:

Lyme disease is usually associated with New England states such as Connecticut where it was first identified and named. Pennsylvania and New Jersey also have significant numbers of cases, however. In fact, the disease has spread far beyond New England, westward and southward. So there is a good likelihood it will be a bad summer for Lyme in nearly half of the country.

Approximately 300,000 US residents may be infected every year. Lyme disease can cause serious complications if it is left untreated, but prompt treatment with antibiotics can usually eliminate the pathogen.

Protecting Yourself:

Experts recommend daily tick checks and removal of any ticks with tweezers. Wearing insect repellent is smart when you are out in the woods, but remember that deer ticks happily hang out in yards as well. The young ones are tiny, no bigger than a poppy seed, so the tick check needs to be extremely thorough. Parents should check their children. When you find a tick, don’t freak out or use flames or Vaseline. Just use a tick removal tool or a simple tweezer to pull it straight out, gripping it as close to the skin as possible.

If you develop a rash or fever, be sure to tell the doctor about your tick bite. See the doctor if you have such symptoms even if you don’t remember a tick biting you. In a bad summer for Lyme disease, it’s better to be cautious.

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  1. John

    A few years ago there was a series of shots offered for Lyme’s disease. Don’t know how effective or if it is offered any more. There is a tool for the removal of ticks that is not a tweezers. I have one that I haven’t used yet.

  2. Patricia
    Blue Mountains, NSW,Australia

    I am puzzled by your recommendations for tick removal. In Australia we are specifically told not to try to pull the tick out as the squeezing may leave the head embedded and can also cause the tick to squirt liquid into the wound which is just what is not needed. Kill the tick first by smothering it, yes probably Vaseline would work, or applying alcohol such as methylated spirits.

  3. Marie
    New Hampshire

    My sister got Lyme 20 years ago, and didn’t know what the bite was. Lyme opened the way for ALS, and now she is confined to a wheelchair. This disease is really serious and we need not only better treatment, but a vaccine.

  4. Rick

    What is diagnosed as Lyme disease may not be Lyme disease

  5. Pamela

    What’s wrong about using Vasoline on ticks? I’ve always used it because it works so good. The tick releases its hold and nothing is left behind.

  6. Sheri

    Chronic Lyme is real, although most MDs will tell you it’s not. It’s time that the chronic form of this disease is taken seriously. And if a doctor tells you “we don’t have Lyme in this area” run for the hills. It is absurd and dangerous to make such a claim based on geographic location. Places that used to have rare cases of Lyme are now becoming endemic regions.

    Sadly, that is what my doctor told me years ago. The damage has been done. Healing from chronic Lyme is painful, difficult and expensive as most insurance companies do not pay for treatments. It is my hope that more attention will be paid to this tricky sickness.

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