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Slide 16

Not a Fun Topic but VERY Important!

Ticks have always been a concern in wooded areas of the island. But this year, experts say that hikers and people spending time outdoors should expect more of them. This means that there could also be an increase in cases of Lyme disease, which can cause serious symptoms.

Within the first 30 days of a tick bite, Lyme disease can cause fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes, as well as Erythema migrans (EM) rash. The rash occurs in the majority of people with Lyme disease, and usually appears about 7 days after a tick bite. The rash gradually expands over a few days, reaching sizes of 12 inches or more. The center may clear, giving it a distinct "bulls-eye" appearance. Thought it usually appears on the site of the tick bite, it can appear anywhere on the body.

Lyme disease can get worse if left untreated. Later-developing symptoms include:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness.
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face).
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints and bones.
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat.
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath.
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet.
  • Problems with short-term memory.
  • Lyme disease is spread primarily by deer ticks, which are incredibly small. An adult deer tick is a
  • fraction the size of a dime, and can be very hard to spot, especially on dark-colored clothing or hair.

Take steps to protect yourself~

  • First, if possible, avoid wooded areas or areas with high grass. If you're going to be hiking in the woods, stay in the center of the trail, if possible.
  • If you're going to be out and about outside, use a bug repellent that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET to keep ticks away.
  • After coming in from the outdoors, make sure to check your body for ticks. If you can't have someone check, use a mirror to look in places you can't see. Ticks especially like to crawl into hard-to-see places, like your scalp, behind your ears, inside the belly button and in the armpits and groin.
  • Also make sure to examine your clothes, gear and pets. Ticks can latch onto these and crawl onto a person later.
  • If you find a tick has embedded itself in your skin, make sure to follow these guidelines for removing it. If removed improperly, the tick head can stay in your skin and still transmit the disease.

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