HIKING AND LYME DISEASE – A COMMON TICK-BORNE DISEASE

April 27, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Health Concerns, Lyme Disease - A common Tick-Borne Disease | Leave a comment
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Newspaper and magazine journalists tout, “Take that hike! The scenery is spectacular! The views are great! The exercise will be good for you, and it’s only a 3 1/2 mile hike there and back!”

A leisurely hike certainly sounds appealing, and one can always use the exercise, but BEWARE! A hike down a dirt road, through the woods or in a field may change your life forever.

After a prolonged rainy season, wild flowers are blooming in profusion, grasses are tall and weeds are plentiful, but the fields and woods are teeming with healthy ticks just waiting in the high brush for someone to walk by to drop down on or latch onto. Unlike snakes, they won’t try to get out of your way. And if ticks bite you and are infected with one of the seven tick-borne pathogens causing human diseases including the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium which causes Lyme disease, symptoms can include a ring-like rash along with flulike symptoms, malaria-like disease, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes.

Ticks can be as small as a poppy seed or a flake of pepper so they may be very difficult to see. After taking a hike, you have to be very diligent checking your body, even checking your hair, behind your ears, behind your knees and under your arms to see if any have latched onto you. The bigger ticks are easier to detect and remove, but it’s important to remove the tick as soon as possible to try to avoid its transmission of infection. Otherwise, once a tick is done feeding on you, it will drop off on its own. However, if you never see that tick, diagnosis of symptoms of Lyme disease can be difficult so wear long sleeves and long pants stuffed inside your socks if at all possible.

Before a hike you may feel happy, strong and healthy, but once you are bitten by a tick, your health can drastically change.

Unless you hurry to your doctor’s office or to an Urgent Care facility for antibiotics to counteract this vector-borne disease, you may end up with long-term infections that can cause more serious symptoms including arthritis, severe muscle pain, headaches, heart palpitations, brain inflammation and nerve pain.

Warn your friends and family about the dangers of hiking in those tick-infested areas. Mention this blog and tell them not to ignore my “Sound Advice For A Better Life.” A hike simply is not worth the loss of good health, for on a hike, you may see those spectacular scenes, but down the road your doctor and pharmacist will see a very sick, suffering person paying a huge price for the rest of their life.

 

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