Lyme Disease – Don’t Let a Serious Tick Bite Ruin Your Holiday

Travelers, campers, and vacationers alike can be at risk for getting Lyme disease, a serious, debilitating condition caused by being bitten by an infected tick. 

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease are the classic bull’s-eye red rash, fatigue or loss of energy, feeling sleepy, tingling and numbness, swollen and painful joints, memory loss, and feeling like you are getting the flu.  Paralysis of the face is a less common symptom. 

Lyme disease can make your life miserable and cause you a lot of pain and suffering if it’s not diagnosed and treated right away.  The longer you wait before seeing a health professional allows this disease to progress quickly and it may not be possible to lessen it’s effects.

How is Lyme disease spread?

Ticks bite and then feed on animals like mice, other small rodents, and deer.  If these animals are harboring the Lyme bacteria, they can pass this  bacteria on to the ticks.  And if people are bitten by an infected tick they may contract Lyme disease.

What steps can you take to reduce the chance of getting Lyme disease?

Some people do not have symptoms that show right away so prevention is always the best policy.  If you are traveling in the spring and summer months to or through areas where deer, mice, other rodents and animals live, the following are some things you can do.

When you are camping on holidays or vacation, you can lessen the number of ticks around your campsite by cleaning up any brush and leaves debris.  Wearing light colored clothing helps you to easily see these very tiny black insects and remove them before they get attached to your skin.  Make sure you wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck them inside your pants.  Always tuck your pant cuffs inside of your socks.  It is also a good idea to wear rubber boots as ticks are commonly found close to the ground.  However, you may also get them in your hair if you happen to brush against any leaves on a low tree branch.  Wearing a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat will help.  Be sure to check your skin and scalp carefully as ticks can easily be overlooked, especially in your hair.  Applying a DEET insect repellent to your clothes and exposed skin, as well as applying permethrin, an insecticide, to your clothes will also help.

How can you remove ticks safely? 

Ticks that have burrowed and embedded themselves underneath your skin can be removed by using a small-tipped tweezers.  Do not leave any part of the tick remaining under your skin.  When the tick has been totally removed, disinfect the wound thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol.  Keep in mind that you are not totally out of the woods yet, so to speak, as the symptoms can take a number of days or weeks before they show.  Using tweezers is the only safe way to remove ticks from under your skin or scalp.  Don’t try to remove any ticks by using burnt matches, petroleum jelly, or alcohol as this will aggravate them, causing them to release more of the bacteria into your blood stream. 

Please note that there is no vaccine available for Lyme disease.

The Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) states that this bacterial disease is vastly under reported, perhaps by well over 100,000 cases per year in the U.S. alone.  Visit their website at for more information on Lyme disease.

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