Hello, folks! How are you? I’m doing well and trying my hardest to rest and relax after a crazy busy start to summer vacation!

Knowing how many of you avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying the season’s great weather, I wanted to speak with you about the importance of Lyme Disease identification, treatment and prevention.

Depending on where you live, doing something as innocent as spending time in your own backyard or biking or running an easy forested path can be all it takes to land an infected tick on you – a tick infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. One bite from such a tick and you, my friend, may be finding that tell-tale bull’s eye rash on yourself anywhere from a few days to several weeks later.

Or maybe not! My daughter was recently diagnosed with acute Lyme and we never saw any such rash. Flu-like symptoms of fatigue, fever and on-going headaches were her symptoms of concern. And she wasn’t even outside the day we found a tick on her! She’d been inside all day – but her daddy had been hiking in the woods. We’re thinking a tick jumped on his clothes, bummed a ride home with him, and jumped on the next warm body it came in contact with.

If not treated with antibiotics within the first few days to weeks after being infected, Lyme Disease can become a chronic condition that may affect the skin, joints, heart and/or nervous system. The good news, though, is that early detection and treatment should kill the bacterium in its entirety, leaving the victim with no lasting related problems.

Here are a couple links to some interesting articles about Lyme Disease. This first one is very informative and easy to understand, discussing what Lyme Disease is, its history, symptoms and treatment: http://www.medicinenet.com/lyme_disease/article.htm. This second one comes as a warning from a runner, with his own informative link to another insightful article: http://ccooper.typepad.com/writing_on_the_run/2011/05/tics-runners-and-lyme-disease.html.

So be careful out there! When possible, wear long sleeves and pants tucked into your socks – leaving limited entry for those nasty ticks. Always be sure to use insect repellent with DEET, as this in particular guards against ticks. But if you do suspect you’ve been bitten by a tick, watch for the bull’s eye rash to appear within a few days to weeks after the bite, and/or headaches, fatigue and fever. Of course, visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Lyme Disease is an insidious disease, but it can be successfully treated! Take care of yourselves, watch for signs, and take action when needed!