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Should I Be Worried About Lyme Disease?

Should I Be Worried About Lyme Disease?

According to the Ohio Department of Health, cases of Lyme disease have been on the rise in the state as the black-legged tick population grows. With temperatures growing warmer and many families beginning to spend more time outdoors, it is important to understand more about Lyme disease and ways to prevent serious infection.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic bullseye-shaped rash.

Ticks that carry Lyme disease are most commonly found in wooded or grassy areas. When a tick attaches to a person or animal, it feeds on their blood and transmits the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Lyme Disease Prevention

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to take measures to avoid tick bites. This includes:

  • Wearing long pants and sleeves
  • Using insect repellent containing DEET
  • Checking for ticks after spending time outdoors
  • Keeping your yard clean and free of brush and leaf litter
  • Staying on marked paths when walking outdoors

What To Do If You Find a Tick

If you find a tick on your body, it's important to remove it as soon as possible. The longer the tick stays attached, the greater the risk of infection. Here's what you should do:

  • Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick, as this can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin.
  • After removing the tick, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Dispose of the tick by placing it in a sealed bag or container or flushing it down the toilet.
  • Monitor the bite site for any signs of a rash or other symptoms, and seek medical attention, if necessary.

It's important to note that not all tick bites result in infection, and not all ticks carry Lyme disease. However, it's better to err on the side of caution and take steps to prevent tick bites whenever possible. By taking the appropriate precautions and being vigilant about tick bites, you can reduce your risk of contracting Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

When to See a Doctor

If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can lead to more severe and long-term health problems. The bacteria from the bite can spread to other parts of the body, resulting in symptoms such as severe headaches, stiffness, facial palsy, irregular heartbeat and nerve pain. In some cases, these complications can be permanent and disabling.

If you've been bitten by a tick and develop symptoms, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but early detection and treatment are important for a full recovery.

Seeking Care with Southwest General Health Center

Southwest General Medical Group, Inc. (SGMG) includes primary care and specialty care providers who are committed to providing patients with high-quality medical care. For more information and to reach out to our team and request an appointment, visit our website at