May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

We’ve just crossed into May and the end of the school year is fast approaching. While the massive post-Covid revenge travel trend seems to have slipped away, the experts are saying Americans are getting back into the rhythms of pre-Covid seasons and vacations.

Living in the Sunshine State, we don’t have to go far to enjoy a little getaway. And despite all of the construction and development, there are still plenty of wild areas to explore on the Gulf Coast and elsewhere in our state.

Just remember, whether you’re air boating through the Everglades, checking out a time share outside of Disney, or exploring the woods around your house, we have now entered flea and tick season.

That’s why every May we take a moment to remember National Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

Let’s Lyme Up

While Lyme disease isn’t the only tick-borne pathogen to be aware of, it’s by far the most prevalent one we see every summer. You don’t even have to go out into the backwoods – your pets can bring it into the house!

The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. It’s not restricted to humans, either. Just as they can bring it inside, dogs and cats can become infected, as can horses. It’s less common in other livestock and has a different effect on cattle.

In humans, you’ll see headache, fever, and fatigue. The most telling symptom is a unique skin rash. Erythema migrans usually presents as a bullseye looking target around the bite location. 90% of humans have symptoms, although they can range from mild to more severe. Don’t wait, though – no matter how light or easy the symptoms seem, Lyme disease should be treated with prescription antibiotics.

Weirdly, only about 10% of dogs are affected by Lyme disease – and only show symptoms months after being bitten and infected, by which time it can be tricky treating them.

For humans, untreated Lyme disease can lead to far worse symptoms. Along with ongoing fevers and rash, you can also develop swelling, facial paralysis, and arthritis. In the past, Lyme disease was not spotted a lot in Florida, but during Covid, numbers started significantly increasing.

And not just where we live.

The Problem Grows

Historically, Northern California, the Northeast, North Central and Mid-Atlantic states recorded the most instances of Lyme disease. But various factors, including environmental changes, have caused numbers to skyrocket. In fact, from 1991 to 2018, Lyme disease cases have doubled and spread to most of North America.

Changing climate conditions, combined with wider and more invasive development and construction projects, forced an adaptation of the Ixodes scapularis (deer tick) and other tick species to spread more widely in order to follow their genetic imperative.

Unfortunately, as they spread they took their diseases with them. These also started to adapt. The main vector for Lyme disease has always been Borrelia burgdorferi in the United States. But now instances of European Lyme disease are cropping up: Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii.

And now other tick-borne illnesses are compounding the situation. Anaplasmosis; Babesiosis; Powassan virus; and Borrelia miyamotoi disease have all increased.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

The impetus behind focusing on Lyme disease in May was to provide Lyme patients, activists, and educators to spread information on how to prevent Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.  Niagara Falls and certain public buildings or historical landmarks are often lit up green for the month. Volunteers pass out lime green ribbons.

At home, the best thing you can do to prevent Lyme disease is to be on the lookout for ticks. As you can see on our graphic above, they are rather tiny. Even fully engorged on blood they may only swell to much less than an inch around. When they’re not feeding they can be as small as an apple seed. Nymphs, which also bite and can transmit Lyme disease, can be smaller than a poppy seed.

Head Off the Problem

The best way to remove a tick is with pointed tweezers. But be very careful to slowly tug the tick out of flesh. If you pull too hard or too quick, you’ll break the tick and leave it’s head or mouth inside which will compound the infection.

Check your dogs once a day, especially after they come in from outside. Keep an eye out for ticks on your skin and brush your clothes after you come inside to make sure nothing’s clinging to you. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.

You’ll want to check yourself and your kids after you’ve been out hiking or in wooded areas. Check under arms, in and around the ears, behind your knees, around your waist, inside your belly button, between your legs, and in and around your hair. Use a mirror if you need to. And if you are really hiking in the “wild”, wear long pants and tuck them into your socks (preferably white so you can see the ticks) – better to be safe than a fashion statement!

Finally, you’ll want to keep your home and yard clear. You can use harsh, dangerous chemical pesticides, or you can call us. We use only the greenest solutions that are safe for the planet and your family and pets. If your home is infested, we can take care of it with our unique proprietary strategy.

For more details, or to have us come out and check your property for an issue, please just give us a call!
















« Back to Blog

Proudly Serving

Sun City Center, Ruskin, Palmetto, Parrish, Ellenton, Bradenton, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, Longboat Key, Lakewood Ranch, University Park, Myakka City, Sarasota, Siesta Key, Osprey, Nokomis, Casey Key, Venice, Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Arcadia

Corporate Address

1080 Enterprise Court, Ste A
North Venice, FL 34275

Call Now: (941) 412-9610
Text: (941) 412-9610
Fax: (941) 412-0080

Copyright © 2024 Pest Control in Venice, FL | Good News Pest Solutions. All rights reserved.