AMERICAN FORK, Utah -- Bonnie Smith was hiking with her family in an area between Nephi and Delta on April 24.
Everything was fine until she woke up the next morning.
“Really painful, achy joints, muscles and really, really weak,” Smith said. “I don’t have the energy to do anything.”
Smith had checked for ticks the night before, but waking up, she saw a blue spot on her chest and a little tick lodged into her skin.
“It was so tiny,” Smith said. “It was just the size of of a small flax seed, so we had a really hard time getting ahold of it and getting it out.”
Once the tick was out, Smith went to her doctor who prescribed antibiotics for 90 days — the life cycle of Lyme disease.
Smith is one of more than 1,000 people who are part of a Utah Lyme disease support group.
Jenny Jones is vice president of the Utah Lyme Disease Alliance. According to the CDC, there were 10 reported cases of Lyme disease in Utah during 2017.
Jones said she was once paralyzed from the neck down because of that little bug.
“It has a life cycle where it can hide from one medication and reproduce in a cyst form,” Jones said. ”When that medication is gone, it comes back with a vengeance.”
If you can prevent getting it, Jones said that’s better than trying to be treated for it later.
“Always pull your hair back or up, using a bug spray that has deet in, or cedar wood oil,” Jones said.
For Smith and her family, that means checking for ticks even more than they thought they had.
“I would just say be very vigilant,” Smith said. “Take your clothes right off, check each other good, check your clothes, maybe don’t even take stuff in the house that you’ve taken out for a while.”
Story re-posted from Fox 13, Salt Lake City. Written by Erin Cox