With the weather finally beginning to show signs of summer, many people—ourselves included—are feeling an urge to spend more time outdoors. It’s the perfect time of year to head out for a run or a hike, but also the season when ticks begin to emerge in vast numbers throughout New England. While the threat of tick bites often gets ignored, the potential for contracting Lyme disease is very real and should not go overlooked.
What are Ticks, and How Do They Bite?
Despite popular belief, ticks are not actually insects—they are arachnids and, as a result, more closely linked to spiders than they are the common housefly. In New England, they can often be found clinging to tall grass during the spring and early summer months, when they’re ready to feed. Also contrary to what many people think, ticks do not jump or fly from their perches. Instead, they latch onto humans and animals as they graze by, which often results in a bite.
While most ticks in New England are harmless if they end up biting a human or pet, deer ticks in particular can carry Lyme disease—a serious illness that can easily pass from parasite to host.
WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?
Lyme disease is an inflammatory illness that first results in flu-like symptoms (as well as rash) but can later develop into arthritis, neurological and cardiac disorders. It’s most commonly caused by a bacteria spread by ticks—specifically, deer ticks (also referred to as “black-legged ticks”). Early signs of Lyme disease begin to show within between 3-30 days of being bitten, specifically a rash that can appear to spread from the center of the bite and form a “bulls-eye” type of pattern.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can become a chronic condition and lead to new or worsening symptoms. Many people with undiagnosed Lyme suffer from severe fatigue, as well as joint pain and even impaired muscle movement. Clearly, it’s nothing to play around with and should be paid close attention to by those who spend a lot of time outdoors.
The good news is that only a small minority of ticks encountered in the wild actually carry Lyme disease. Additionally, ticks that are left attached for less than 36 hours are less likely to spread the disease. If you have been bitten, however, a visit to ConvenientMD can help determine risk for Lyme and get a head start on treating the condition should any symptoms be present. The tick should be removed with tweezers as soon as it’s discovered by grasping it near its head or mouth and pulling gently (being careful not to tear or squeeze it).
Get Treated Today at ConvenientMD!
At ConvenientMD, we believe it’s always wise to thoroughly investigate a tick bite before sending patients on their way. Lyme disease is a potentially serious illness, and prognosis hinges on catching the disease quickly and early. If you think you’ve been bitten by a tick, just stop into any ConvenientMD location today, and we’ll perform a full examination to help put your mind at ease.
This spring and summer, don’t just assume you’re immune to tick bites. Have you been bitten? Visit ConvenientMD to get treated!