Lyme Disease cases will grow as the weather warms up
DELMARVA – As the weather warms up, more people are getting outdoors and that’s where ticks happen to live.
Just one bite can expose you to Lyme disease. “These are small little guys, what they do is they climb little pieces of grass, and as they get bigger they can get taller and taller and they hold on with their back legs so their front legs are like a crab and they look like this,” Ginny Rosenkranz, Lower Shore Horticulturist said.
Spring is here and with more people outdoors Lyme disease cases will grow. “Lyme disease is a tick-born infection that is endemic in certain geographical areas, areas being one of them,” Dr. Sally Dowling with Atlantic General said.
Lyme disease is specifically spread by the black-legged tick or deer tick. Fortunately here on the shore, there are no cases yet this season but the risk for Lyme disease is increasing. “I haven’t heard of any increase in any diagnoses of it recently but we are expecting that it will be higher as the summer goes on,” Dr. Dowling said.
Officials say to be careful because they don’t only impact humans, watch out for your furry friends too. “The ticks will feed and they drop off, so it can get on your pets, and it can get on you as you walk by,” Rosenkranz said.
If you get bit, you may not even know it but this is what you should look for: “a rash that they call a bullseye rash, any tick bite is going to get red and swollen, usually itchy right around the bite,” Dr. Dowling explained.
However best practices are: “When you’re outside in an area of tall grass or something like that — when you take a shower use a washcloth, scrub very very well with a washcloth so that anything that might be on you, you’re brushing off,” Rosenkranz said.
It takes 24 to 48 hours for the tick to infect its host, but Dr. Dowling says the sooner the tick bite is treated the better.
So be sure to check yourself for ticks or tick bites after spending time outdoors. If the symptoms are developed later, you can still be treated.