Springtime is usually a lovely time of year, associated with flowers blooming and the weather finally becoming more bearable. However, there are some dangers to the spring season – namely, a higher risk of being bitten by a tick. With the potential of a tick bite leading to Lyme disease, you’ll want to make sure that you’re fully protected when you spend time outdoors. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know to prevent and/or treat Lyme disease during the spring season.
Springtime can mean ticks are more active.
Although you can be bitten by a tick at any time during the year, you’re at an even greater risk during springtime. Adult ticks are found to be the most active during March through mid-May, along with young deer ticks who pop out during late spring to summer (typically around mid-May to mid-August). Because ticks are only dormant during freezing weather, most areas find increases in tick populations during this time of year.
You’re more likely to be in a tick’s habitat during springtime.
As temperatures increase and it becomes more pleasant to spend time outdoors, your risk of being bitten by a tick goes up. More people head outside when spring arrives, which means that you could find yourself right in the path of a tick. Although you’ll be tempted to step out into nature as soon as the snow melts, you should be cautious about ending up in tick territory (in the woods, near overgrown grass, near woodpiles, etc.).
Global warming will only increase the danger.
Climate change is resulting in warmer temperatures in many regions of the world. While this might not initially seem like a negative change, it’s important to remember that people will head outdoors when the cold weather has dissipated, resulting in more people spending time in areas where ticks may be present. It’s possible that climate change will mean that you’ll have to be even more cognisant of the dangers of ticks during every season.
It’s crucial that you protect yourself from ticks.
Since ticks will be out in full force during spring, it’s critical that you use whatever tools you can to prevent getting bitten. Here are some tips:
- Stick to clear paths when you’re out in nature. Wooded areas can be full of ticks, so it’s better to stay on marked paths that are free from overgrowth.
- Wear protective clothing, including long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-toe shoes. Consider tucking your trousers into your socks so that you leave no skin exposed.
- Use pesticides to spray directly onto your skin or clothing to repel ticks.
- Stay away from any animals that could be tick-carriers (especially mice and deer).
- Protect your home by creating tick barriers or by keeping your garden well-maintained (overgrown grass or lawn clippings are favourite tick hangouts).
Do thorough checks to determine if you’ve been bitten.
As soon as you come indoors after spending time in nature, make sure to do a thorough check to see if any ticks have attached to you. Don’t forget to check hard-to-see places, such as the back of your neck, your scalp, behind your knees, etc. If you find a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers or a tick removal kit, and clean the area with alcohol.
If you’ve been bitten, get checked out by a doctor.
If you think you’ve been bitten by a tick, it’s crucial that you get evaluated by a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis. Lyme disease-informed doctors can get you on a treatment regimen right away so that you might be able to avoid experiencing severe symptoms.
Be aware of getting misdiagnosed.
Lyme disease patients tend to get misdiagnosed because their symptoms mimic other conditions. For example, patients who suffer from severe fatigue are often diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Similarly, patients with joint pain are misdiagnosed with arthritis or multiple sclerosis. If you contract Lyme disease during the spring, it’s possible you’re even more likely to receive a misdiagnosis, such as spring fatigue disorder. This condition, also known as springtime lethargy, can sometimes be considered a ‘reverse’ seasonal affective disorder that shows up when spring arrives. It’s marked by fatigue (despite an adequate amount of sleep), sensitivity to changes in the weather, dizziness, irritability, headaches, lack of drive and aching joints. These symptoms can also all be signs that a person has Lyme disease, so it makes sense that the conditions can be confused for one another. Other springtime conditions, like hay fever and inflammatory symptoms, mean that you could potentially receive a misdiagnosis from your doctor.
The most important thing you can do if you think you might have Lyme disease is to consult with a doctor who is knowledgeable and has experience with treating the condition. Doctors who have successfully treated Lyme disease will know the proper treatment regimen to get you on. Don’t be afraid to shop around until you find the right doctor for you – one who takes your Lyme disease concerns seriously. Your health is worth it!
If you’re going to be spending time outdoors this spring, you should be aware of the dangers of getting bitten by a tick. Remain vigilant about staying away from tick habitats and keep yourself safe with some of the tips discussed above. It is possible for you to enjoy beautiful spring weather while still protecting yourself from a tick bite and Lyme disease.