Lyme disease can happen to anyone

While out walking in the 1000 Islands area, I contracted Lyme disease. A tick carrying Borrelia burgdoferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, bit me and burrowed into the underside of my knee. I didn’t discover it for more than 30 hours after I returned home from my walk.

I’m one of the lucky people who actually found the tick, and was able to remove it and take it to be tested for the bacteria, so I got the necessary treatment promptly. Consequently, I’m a little under the weather but it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever experience the devastating health problems that can occur.

Ticks are patient little creatures. They stand on their hind legs atop blades of grass or on leaves, they’re ‘arms’ outstretched, waiting for a hapless passer-by. As we brush past them they latch on, find their way under our clothing or into our hair, and the next thing you know they’re burrowing in for a meal.

I wondered why I didn’t feel the tick biting, but it turns out that they release an anesthetic before using their saw-like mouthpiece to cut through the skin. Being unable to feel their bite is why it’s so important to look for them after you’ve been in a meadow or wooded area, especially one that is frequented by deer.

If you want to be sure you’re safe, throw all your clothes into the dryer for an hour when you return from your excursion. Get in the shower and wash your hair. Comb your hair with a nit comb. Look all over your naked body, especially in warm, moist areas, or have your partner look.

Check your animals, too. They can be bitten and get sick or bring ticks into your home.

And remember that it’s important to cover up before going into ‘the wild.’ Tuck your socks into your pants and cover your hair. Use an insect repellent. (Ladies, think twice about taking a pee in the woods or in the tall grass: That’s an ideal way to pick up a tick.)

Don’t let ticks prevent you from enjoying the great outdoors. Have fun but take care.

Isn’t it always the way?

Heather

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