Beware of Lyme disease this summer

After weeks of lockdown and social distancing due to COVID-19, many are ready to get out and about around the country. According to a survey conducted by Civic Science, 43 percent of those surveyed said they planned to partake in more outdoor activities this summer than they usually would due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

A majority of those surveyed said they planned to do more hiking and visiting local parks.

With more people going out, it’s important to remember to protect yourself from ticks and Lyme disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease cases usually spike in June and July. Coincidently, Lyme disease shares some common symptoms with COVID-19, such as fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue and sore throat.

One of the major differences between the two is that COVID-19 patients have breathing issues, like shortness of breath, and often lose their sense of taste and smell.

Tick bites can cause other infections as well, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis.

The CDC has published a list of best practices to help avoid any tick bites this summer.

• Step one is to know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people also get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.

• Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

• Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.

• Once you’re back inside following a hike, make sure to check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing and should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended, as cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks. It’s also recommended that you shower within two hours after being outdoors.

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