Prevent Lyme Disease, Avoid Tick
With the weather warming up, we’re all excited to spend more time outdoors. Most of us know about wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated, but often forget about another pesky outdoor health risk – bug bites. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, tells us everything we need to know about preventing illness caused by ticks.
What kinds of illnesses can be spread by bugs?
Nurse Rose: There are a variety of illnesses but one to be especially aware of in this area is Lyme disease, a serious disease that can be treated if it’s caught early enough.
What is Lyme disease?
Nurse Rose: Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria spread by tiny insects called ticks, usually found in wooded or grassy areas.
Early signs include:
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, joint/muscle pain, headache)
- Round, red rash that spreads around the tick bite
What happens if you ignore signs of Lyme disease?
Nurse Rose: If the disease goes untreated, it can cause serious, long-term problems, including:
- Swelling and joint pain
- Tingling and numbness in the hands, feet and back
- Lack of energy that does not improve
- Trouble focusing
- Poor memory
- Weakness or paralysis in your face muscles
What should you do if you notice these symptoms?
Nurse Rose: If you notice a rash or any of the symptoms described above, see a doctor immediately.
How can we protect ourselves from Lyme disease?
Nurse Rose: The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites with these tips:
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas
- Use bug repellent with DEET
- Bathe as soon as you return indoors
- Conduct a full body check using a mirror and check your kids
- Put clothes in a hot dryer for an hour to kill remaining ticks
- Remove any ticks you find
Rose Melendez, RN
Head of Emergency Department
Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.