As we leave the winter months behind us and begin to experience the warm weather and sunshine that spring and summer bring, there isn't a person among us who can say they aren't excited. I don't know about you guys, but this winter felt way longer than normal. Thankfully, things are starting to warm up (or perhaps they already have where you live) and we can finally enjoy the outdoors without bundling up underneath four layers of coats.
But just as winter has its drawbacks, spring and summer have theirs. That's right, the pesky bugs that no one missed are back yet again. Mosquitoes, wasps, and ants will be out in droves as the temperature rises. While we're certainly willing to tolerate them if it means going to the swimming pool or taking a nice weekend camping trip, it doesn't make them any less annoying. Mosquitoes are capable of carrying all sorts of diseases, and wasps can give you a nasty bite, but one of the biggest threats to be on the lookout for this spring and summer is ticks.
Ticks are teeny tiny arachnids that carry Lyme disease. If you've never heard of Lyme disease, it is a bacterial infection transmitted via tick bite. It is most commonly found in black-legged deer ticks, which inhabit grassy or heavily-wooded areas and prey on animals and humans alike. Since ticks are so small, and the diseases they carry are so life-threatening, many question why they even exist. What purpose could something that nasty serve in nature. Well, you should know that scientists believe that they play a major ecological role by infecting, and essentially killing, weaker animals, which keeps our plant resources from being overgrazed. But, just because they play an important role in nature, doesn't mean you want to find one anywhere near you.
This summer, if you are bitten by a tick, or if you spot any of these symptoms, do not take a chance - consult your doctor immediately and tell them that you are worried about the possibility of Lyme disease. While cases of Lyme disease are rare, you should know that many go misdiagnosed since the symptoms can closely resemble those of the flu or lupus. Check out the images below to see what a tick bite can look like, the signs of Lyme disease to keep an eye out for, and exactly what to do if you think you have it. Summer should be a fun time to play outdoors, so let's make sure we stay protected against even the smallest of threats!
The most noticeable symptom of Lyme disease is the rash. Known as an EM rash, it closely resembles a "bull's-eye," with a red ring around a small area of skin.
It's easy to take one glance at a rash like this and dismiss it as a bad mosquito or spider bite. Other insect bites, however, aren't typically accompanied by a myriad of other nasty symptoms. Early symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, headache, grogginess, and achy muscles.
As it grows more severe, Lyme disease causes intense headaches, joint pains, heart palpitations, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and other pain/numbness around the body. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and have a bull's-eye rash like the one pictured above, consult your doctor about Lyme disease immediately.
As serious as it is, many people still don't know about Lyme disease. Just listen to this mother's plea after her son was bitten by a tick.
As long as Lyme disease is caught early, it is easily treatable with antibiotics, but that shouldn't make it any less of a worry for parents.
If you'd like to learn more about how you can prevent Lyme disease, check out the video below.