May is the official ‘Lyme Disease Awareness Month’ observed yearly in many countries including the US. It is observed to raise awareness about the tiny but dangerous arachnid, tick! Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks.

The symptoms of Lyme disease vary widely and imitate other common diseases, making it difficult to diagnose. 

  1. Early Symptoms (3-30 days after tick bite):

    • Erythema migrans (EM) rash: Often starts as a small red bump and expands over time, resembling a bull's eye or target. However, not all cases of Lyme disease present with this rash.

    • Fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes.

  2. Later Symptoms (Days to months after tick bite if untreated):

    • Multiple EM rashes

    • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, facial paralysis (Bell's palsy), severe headaches, meningitis-like symptoms (stiff neck, sensitivity to light).

    • Joint pain and swelling: Particularly in the large joints, such as the knees.

    • Heart palpitations and dizziness: Lyme carditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, can cause heart palpitations, chest pain, and fainting.

  3. Chronic Symptoms (Months to years after tick bite if untreated):

    • Chronic arthritis: Recurrent episodes of joint swelling and pain, particularly in large joints.

    • Cognitive difficulties, memory problems, neuropathy (nerve pain), sleep disturbances.

    • Persistent fatigue, muscle aches, and general malaise.

How To Prevent Tick Bites?

Preventing tick bites is the best way to avoid Lyme disease. Here are some practical tips to prevent tick bites;

  • Use tick repellents: Apply insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, or permethrin on clothing and gear.

  • Wear protective clothing: Long sleeves, pants, and light-colored clothing can help spot ticks more easily.

  • Perform tick checks: After spending time outdoors, especially in wooded or grassy areas, thoroughly check your body, pets, and gear for ticks.

  • Shower soon after being outdoors: This can help wash off unattached ticks and make it easier to perform a thorough tick check.

  • Be aware of areas where ticks are commonly found, such as wooded or grassy areas, especially during warmer months. When spending time outdoors in these environments, take precautions to prevent tick bites.

  • Keep your lawn and vegetation trimmed to reduce tick habitat. Create a barrier between wooded areas and your yard by using wood chips or gravel.

  • If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it promptly using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking the tick, as this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. After removing the tick, clean the bite area with soap and water or an antiseptic.

Myths and Facts About Ticks That Everybody Should Know For Better Protection;

Myth: Lyme disease is only a problem in rural areas.

Fact: Ticks can be found in urban parks and gardens as well.

Myth: A bull's-eye rash always appears with Lyme disease.

Fact: Not everyone gets the rash; the absence of the rash doesn't mean the absence of the disease.

Myth: You can feel a tick bite.

Fact: Tick bites are usually painless and may go unnoticed.

What To Do If You Find Ticks In Your House/Garden/Backyard?

In such cases, it's important to contact a pest control service immediately. RidAway is the most trusted pest control service in Massachusetts. It is state-licensed and industry-certified and uses biologically friendly pesticides that leave your home safe to return to. On top of that you can periodically visit your home to ensure there are no invaders.

For a quick solution to an urgent intrusion, RidAway is ready to come to your rescue.