As a child growing up in Kentucky, my parents were more concerned about me getting chigger bites than tick bites. Looking back, a day after picking wildflowers in the field behind our log cabin, (yes, I’m serious!) I looked like a leper from scratching hundreds of oozing welts that covered my body. But ticks? Occasionally, they’d pull one off of me… and there was the horrifying Sunday morning when I was sitting in a pew during the church service when, to my HORROR, I felt an engorged mother F-ing tick attached to my head which about sent me into cardiac arrest!
But… it was our family cat who was the tick magnet—not us kids. Like most people back in the 1960s, we were oblivious about Lyme disease.
But seriously, OMG how things have changed! Lyme disease is serious business! Ticks are everywhere in Kentucky—and every other state in the country. Don’t believe me? Check out this interactive site from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that shows (click on the US map) how Lyme disease has spread since 2001—now affecting nearly 320,000 people annually—and those are just the people who’ve been diagnosed! It’s absolutely chilling!
Fortunately for Kentuckians, the prevalence of Lyme disease there isn’t nearly as severe as it is in the Northeast and in upper Michigan and surrounding states. It’s pretty scary, because the symptoms of Lyme disease, if left untreated, can become so severe, they can mimic ALS and MS. So if you try to run for the hills to escape—that’s okay—just please keep it on the paved road! Your car would be the best bet!
For a sobering set of facts… doctors Harriet O. Kotsoris and Mayla Hsu’s article that appeared in the Times Union is chilling and alarming! I had no idea how underfunded Lyme disease is! I had no idea that there isn’t one definitive diagnostic test—and that you can test negative but still be positive! Aaaaack.
Please share and be safe out there! Wear protective clothing, use a deep woods repellent, when you venture into the brush, bathe frequently, and always, always check yourself and your loved ones for ticks–especially if you have a dog or a cat! Ticks are everywhere! You might just have some on your sofa!