DANBURY, Conn. - Think because summer is (almost) over, you don't have to worry about Lyme disease? Not so.
Incidence rates stay high through September.
Each year, more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) although estimates indicate that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000, making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the U.S.
But what is Lyme disease and how do you even get it?
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected deer tick. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
The good news is that Lyme disease is preventable and reducing exposure to ticks is the number one way to do so. Tips for alleviating your risks follow.
Consider professional services. The CDC suggests using a professional outdoor pest control company to help reduce the tick population in your yard, especially for those in high risk areas.
Keep your yard clean. Eliminate places for ticks to hide, such as trash and debris. Hiding spots can also include tall grasses, leaves or stacks of wood—remove these entirely or keep them a safe distance away from your home.
Create barriers . Keep ticks out by placing a barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas. Ticks aren’t drawn to this material and won’t be tempted to cross over to the lawn.
Strategically place yard fixtures. Create a setup that keeps your family away from spaces where ticks might hide. Playground equipment, decks and patios should be placed in a sunny location and away from wooded areas.
Wear proper attire. Wear long pants and sleeves to reduce visible skin; you can even tuck your pants into your socks to create a barrier.
If you follow these steps and suspect that you may still have a tick bite, don’t panic. Safely remove the tick and keep an eye out for the symptoms mentioned above.
Being prepared is the best way to avoid Lyme disease.
Bob Mangan is the Technical Operations for TruGreen in the Northeast region, located in Danbury.
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