May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and Tick season is already in full swing. Cases of Lyme Disease and Babesiosis – two types of tick-borne infections – are rising in New Jersey and other Northeast states. Many ticks carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme and Babesiosis, and can transmit them to humans through bites. The majority of people with Lyme Disease and Babesiosis fully recover. However, left untreated, both illnesses can cause serious illness. At advanced stages, Lyme Disease can lead to problems such as severe headaches and neck stiffness, arthritis, heart palpitations, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Early diagnosis and, in some cases, antibiotic treatment can help prevent advanced Lyme disease. However the best way to prevent tick-borne disease like Lyme is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. The CDC offers many helpful tips to stay safe during outdoor activities.
If you do find a tick on you, there’s no need to panic. It typically takes at least 24-48 hours for ticks to transmit any infection it may be carrying. The key is to follow the proper for steps of tick removal. The CDC offers this helpful guide for removing ticks, including common mistakes to avoid. Armed with this knowledge, we hope you get to enjoy the outdoors this summer with your family and friends.