Saturday, June 16, 2007

Don't let Lyme Disease keep you inside

Lyme disease isn’t something we seem to pay much attention to here in Canada. But, according to an article in the Edmonton Sun, we should be. According to the article, there have been 19 cases of Lyme disease confirmed in Alberta since 1992.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has information about Lyme disease. It’s hard to tell how many cases of Lyme disease there actually have been in Canada because it’s not a reportable disease. The information on this site says that the highest risk of exposure to the ticks that cause Lyme disease is in southern and eastern Ontario, south-eastern Manitoba and Nova Scotia, and southern British Columbia, although there is still risk elsewhere.

Another thing to think about is if you are travelling in places in the United States that have Lyme disease. Find out before you travel if there is a higher incidence of Lyme disease where you are going to travel.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include:
· rash at the site of the bit and elsewhere on the body
· rash that appears circular
· headache
· seizures
· fatigue
· chills and fevers
· muscle and joint pain
· swollen lymph glands

If Lyme disease isn’t diagnosed and progresses, more symptoms can occur, such as:
· migraines
· weakness and extreme fatigue
· stiff joints
· multiple rashes
· irregular heart beat

You can protect yourself from Lyme disease. Since it is caused by ticks transmitting it, preventing tick bites will prevent the transmission of the disease.

If you are going to be in a wooded area or in an area where there is a lot of tall grass, wear light coloured clothing, tuck your shirt into your pants and your pant legs into your socks. Don’t wear sandals, but rather closed shoes. You can spray your clothes with insect repellent but be sure that it contains DEET, the chemical that will keep ticks away.

When you have returned home, be sure to inspect yourself closely. The light-coloured clothing makes it easier for you to see the ticks. Be sure to check all parts of your body that weren’t covered, such as the back of your neck that was covered with hair.

Finding a tick doesn’t mean that you have caught Lyme disease, but it is important to remove the tick properly to prevent any exchange from the tick.

Do not crush or twist the tick. Using a pair of tweezers, pull the tick straight up off your skin. Clean the area well with soap and water.

There will always be something that can cause illness, but as long as we’re careful and know how to reduce the risk, there’s no reason why we can’t go outside and still have fun. Especially in most of Canada where our summers are so short. We need to be able to take advantage of the absolutely gorgeous weather we can be blessed with. So, be careful but don’t give up on being outside.

Added note: check the news story about the mumps. The numbers of infected people is adding up.

Today's news:
Mumps outbreak in N.S. still steadily rising
Breast cancer drug offers hope for ovarian cancer
Tuberculosis-Infected Flier to Undergo Lung Surgery

1 comment:

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