May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Spreading Rare Disease Awareness

The month of May is being recognized as Lyme Disease Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness about this disease among the medical field and the general public. As spring is now well and truly in full swing in many parts of the US, the warmer weather will cause the primary spreader of the disease, the deer tick, to become more active. This will increase the chances of encounters with humans and subsequent bites that could spread the infection. The Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) has organized several ways for people to get involved in this year’s awareness month.

About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the genus Borrelia. This bacteria is commonly spread to humans through the bite of a tick. In the US, the species of tick associated with Lyme disease is called the deer tick or the black legged tick (Ixodes scapularis). A tick must be attached to a person for at least 36 hours to transmit the bacteria. Symptoms of this disease include a distinctive bullseye rash surrounding the bite, fatigue, malaise, headache, and fever. Delays in treatment can lead to more serious symptoms, such as facial paralysis, mood changes, memory loss, sleeping difficulties, meningitis, arthritis, and others. In most cases, prompt treatment can effectively cure the infection. Delayed treatment increases the chance of serious complications and long-term, lingering symptoms. The number of cases of the disease appears to be growing annually. To learn more about Lyme disease, click here.

Are you ready to be a part of Lyme Disease Awareness Month this year? Here’s how:

  1. Share #LymeFacts on social media. One of the best ways to contribute is to spread information about Lyme disease on your social feeds. GLA has put together a social media toolkit that is packed with eye-popping graphics and fascinating Lyme disease facts. Click here to check it out and start sharing.
  2. Connect with GLA. Sign up for their e-newsletter to stay up to date with the latest Lyme disease related news and info, such as research, events, and more. Click here to sign up.
  3. Learn how to #BeTickAWARE. Making the effort to prevent tick bites is the most important way that we can help bring down Lyme disease cases. Click here to learn more and take these critical steps to avoid tick bites:
    • Avoid areas where ticks live, such as tall grass, brush, leaf litter, wood piles, and stone walls.
    • Wear light-colored clothes that can allow you to see ticks more easily. Tuck in your shirt into your pants and your pants into high socks, and avoid open-toed footwear.
    • Apply EPA-approved tick repellent to your skin and insecticide to your clothes and shoes. Watch this video to learn how to apply repellent most effectively.
    • Remove clothing when you get back home if you’ve been in a tick-prone area. Putting the clothes in the drier for 10-15 minutes at high heat will kill any ticks.
    • Examine yourself and your pets for ticks on a daily basis. Check nooks and crannies such as the groin, belly button, armpits, back of the knees, scalp, and behind the ears.

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