It’s no coincidence that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. At the turn of the warm season, people spend more and more time outside, increasing their chances of getting a tick bite resulting in inflammatory Lyme disease.
Dr. Stephen Bock, a family practitioner in NY, explains that it is extremely difficult to diagnose lyme disease because it resembles symptoms of the flu:
“Lyme disease is the great pretender,” where even the “a blood test is not enough.”
It appears that the North Eastern region of US has significantly higher number of cases annually, as reported by Kansas Wichita Eagle.
States with most cases:
1. New York 5,741
2. Massachusetts 3,960
3. Pennsylvania 3,818
4. New Jersey 3,214
5. Connecticut 2,738
States with the least Lyme cases:
48. Wyoming 1
48. Mississippi 1
48. Oklahoma 1
49. Arkansas 0
49. Hawaii 0
The best way to prevent the disease:
- Wear light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs; tuck pants into socks and tuck in shirts.
- Use insect repellent (with DEET) on your skin and apply permethrin (kills ticks on contact) to your clothes.
- Do a tick check after every outing and remove ticks immediately by grasping them near the mouth by pulling straight out with tweezers. Wash the area with soap and water and apply antiseptic.
- Watch for a rash at the site (which may or may not appear) or any flu-like symptoms within one month of the bite.
- Keep your lawn mowed, cut overgrown brush, and clear away leaf litter from your home.
- Inspect pets daily and remove any ticks found.