PARKERSBURG — Despite summer being over, warm weather and ideal circumstances for ticks remain and it is important to understand the potential consequences of bites.
According to the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, lyme disease cases have been on the rise in the region.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread by deer ticks, which are especially prevalent in wooded and grassy areas.
According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 30,000 cases are reported annually to state health departments across the country.
“We have seen about 20 cases in the last month and usually we only see about two or three cases a month during the summer,” said Carrie Brainard, the public information officer for the MOVHD.
Brainard stresses the importance of using insect repellent and always checking for ticks soon after having been in a potential area of exposure, especially since an infected tick must be attached for at least 24 hours for transmission to occur.
If a person finds a tick actively attached, it is recommended that a tweezer be used for removal. If the tick is latched on tightly, a small amount of dish detergent should loosen the grip.
Symptoms of lyme disease appear anywhere from three to 30 days after infection and are incredibly treatable with antibiotics if caught early, according to the health department. The earliest potential symptom would be a rash that resembles a bulls-eye, followed by flu-like symptoms such as fever and weakness.
“If untreated for too long, Lyme Disease can cause joint damage and other long-term effects,” Brainard said.
Most patients who are vigilant and recognize their symptoms or quickly remove a tick they find on their body will fully recover.
Animals also are susceptible to Lyme Disease. Check outdoor pets regularly and check furniture for ticks that may have detached from their bodies.
For more information on Lyme Disease, visit the CDC website at cdc.gov. More in-depth signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease are also available at the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department website, which is www.movhd.com.
Jenna Pierson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org