- Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Lyme Disease Awareness Month is an observance month in May that raises funds for research of Lyme, educational opportunities and organized events. Activists proclaim May to be Lyme Month since May is the heart of tick season.
Lyme Disease is a bacterial disease that is caused by a latched-on tick bite. With over 900 tick species crawling throughout the world, it's easy enough for a tick to find a warm-blooded host to feed from such as a deer, domestic animal or human. In the Northeast region of the United States, black-legged ticks prevail and favor the white-tailed deer. When white-tail deer enter into woods, lawns or gardens, ticks follow.
It's important to note that not all ticks carry Lyme Disease.
Ticks begin to appear in the warmer months of the year beginning in March-May. Ticks like to hide under leaves, seeking warmth, in the garden, or in the woods on trails. They do not fly or jump; but they do climb from the ground up.
For this reason, outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to wear [bright] long-sleeve clothing while hiking, spray tick repellents along their ankles and perform thorough tick-checks after long periods of outdoor activity.
According to the CDC, in 2015, 95% of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported from 14 states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Ticks are tiny, smaller than a finger nail or a dime; and they can be undetected for several hours or days if tick-checks are not performed on yourself or your pets.
The warm-blooded host will have less than 48 hours to remove the tick before possible transmission of a tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease.
Most individuals will experience a fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and swollen glands – often confused with signs of the flu. Lyme Disease can often be misdiagnosed for this reason.
If your active outdoor dog is now lethargic, then they may have experienced a bite from a tick. Symptoms of Lyme Disease in dogs are:
- High blood pressure
- Fast heart rate and rhythm (tachyarrhythmias)
- Weakness, especially in the hind limbs
- Partial loss of muscle movements (paresis)
- Complete loss of muscle movement (paralysis), commonly seen in advanced disease state
- Poor reflexes to complete loss of reflex
- Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
- Difficulty in eating
- Disorder of voice (dysphonia)
- Asphyxia due to respiratory muscle paralysis in severely affected animals
- Excessive drooling (sialosis)
- Megaesophagus (enlarged esophagus)
- Excessive dilatation of pupil in the eye (mydriasis)
As with a human, the most common sign of Lyme is a ring around the infected skin, also known as the "Bulls Eye" marking. Clinical illness in dogs lasts from 2-5 months; and can be treated with antibiotics like Doxycycline or Amoxicillin, if caught in the early stages.
Humans and pets are subject to tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, mostly from dog tick bites.
1) Buy a Tick Removal Tool
Household tweezers may not be strong enough to successfully remove the tick. We suggest purchasing any of the tick remover tools and tweezers from Deerbusters.com for easy handling.
2) Disinfect the tick-biting area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
3) Pull the tick straight up. Be sure that the head and body both comes out completely. (Remember: Tick-borne disease transmission is not possible without the tick's head as this is what is burrowed inside the skin.) Do not rush the process so the tick's body does not break apart. If it does break for any reason, remove the broken parts from the infected area - do not leave the remaining body parts attached to your skin.
4) Disinfect the tick-biting area with rubbing alcohol one final time.
5) Place the tick in a sealed container. Store in refrigerator if it is alive, and the freezer if it is dead.
6) Take the tick to a doctor's office quickly for testing to identify the type of tick; and consider testing for Lyme Disease and other diseases.
Because deer are the favored hosts of ticks in North America, Deerbusters suggests that homeowners install a deer fence around their yard to keep deer away. Not only will deer fencing protect crops from deer damage, but it is proven to reduce the risk of Lyme Disease by 97%!
Check out local 5K run/walks in your area that raise awareness of #Lyme.
Join a workshop to learn about Lyme Disease prevention strategies.
Share stories about Lyme Disease testing and health after the tick bite.
Join the conversation on Twitter; and follow Deerbusters: @Deerbusters. Use hashtags #Lyme, #LymeDisease #LymeDiseaseAwareness.