For many of us, the arrival of spring could not have come too soon. The trees and flowers are blossoming and the air is filled with chirping birds and the smell of neighborhood barbecues. However, as we look forward to taking hikes through the woods and picnics in the park, it’s important to take precautions as along with the joy of warm weather comes an annoying and dangerous predator – TICKS. Ticks carrying diseases can make family members, friends and children very sick.


Symptoms of Lyme Disease: The Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms as potential Lyme Disease indications. They remind us that the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary and usually appear in stages and even if your symptoms disappear, it does not mean that the disease has gone away. Seek out a medical professional to be tested as early treatment is the most effective.

Early signs and symptoms A small, red bump often appears at the site of a tick bite or tick removal and resolves over a few days. This is normal after a tick bite and does not necessarily indicate Lyme disease. However, these signs and symptoms may occur within a month after you’ve been infected:

• Rash. From 3 to 30 days after an infected tick bite, an expanding red area might appear that sometimes clears in the center, forming a bulls-eye pattern. The rash (erythema migrans) expands slowly over days and can spread to 12 inches (30 centimeters) across. It is typically not itchy or painful. Erythema migrans is one of the hallmarks of Lyme disease. Some people develop this rash at more than one place on their bodies.

• Flu-like symptoms. Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and a headache may accompany the rash.

Later signs and symptoms
If untreated, new signs and symptoms of Lyme infection might appear in the following weeks to months. These include:

• Erythema migrans appearing in other areas of your body.

• Joint pain. Bouts of severe joint pain and swelling are especially likely to affect your knees, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.

• Neurological problems. Weeks, months or even years after infection, you might develop inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell’s palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement. Signs and symptoms caused by the bacterium Borrelia mayonii may also include:

• Nausea and vomiting

• Diffuse rashes (rather than a single bulls-eye rash commonly associated with Lyme disease)

Less common signs and symptoms

Several weeks after infection, some people develop:

• Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat. Heart problems rarely last more than a few days or weeks.

• Eye inflammation.

• Liver inflammation (hepatitis).

• Severe fatigue.

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Preventative Steps to Take:

Here are the preventative steps my family now follows, courtesy of NatCapLyme:

• Perform daily tick checks, especially when your family has been outdoors that day.

• Wear long, loose-fitting, light-colored clothes, and use an EPA approved insect repellant, preferably one that contains DEET.

• Avoid tick-infested areas such as tall grass and dense foliage, especially in the spring when the ticks’ eggs are hatching.

• Promptly remove attached ticks using fine-tipped tweezers, and send them off to a lab for testing (many local health departments and universities are also offering this service now).

• Upon finding an attached tick, consult immediately with your doctor, pediatrician or Lyme Disease specialist.

It is our hope that Suffolk County families know about the dangers of Lyme Disease and take proper precautions to avoid tick bites and take action immediately if you suspect you have been bitten. We want to see fewer people and all children avoid the painful and potential long-lived symptoms of this disease.