May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month!
Release Date: April 14, 2008
Outdoor activities might be beneficial to your health and well-being, but Lyme disease is one of Mother Nature's health hazards and a serious health concern for residents living in Sussex County.
The long winter has finally drawn to a close and warmer, longer days often lure people outdoors. Unfortunately, you have to stop and think before you go outside to plant that garden or take a hike. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Jersey had the third highest rate of reported Lyme disease cases in the nation, with over 2,500 cases reported in 2006. Outdoor activities might be beneficial to your health and well-being, but Lyme disease is one of Mother Nature's health hazards and a serious health concern for residents living in Sussex County.
Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bite of a tick infected with a bacterium called, Borrelia burgdorferi. In New Jersey, the deer tick, or black-legged tick, is the most common carrier of the disease. Anyone can get Lyme disease, although proper removal of the tick within 48 hours can reduce the risk of contracting the illness. Symptoms usually appear within 1-2 weeks and can include a red "bull's eye" rash, fever, headache muscle aches, joint pain, weakness, and fatigue. Lyme disease can lead to severe health problems if left untreated. Contact your health professional immediately if you think you may have Lyme disease.
The good news is that everyone can take precautions to reduce their risk for preventing Lyme disease. The first step is to wear light-colored clothing with pants tucked into socks and closed shoes like sneakers. Light colors allow you to easily spot a tick that may have attached itself to you. Try to avoid grassy, overgrown lawns or wooded areas with leafy brush and always apply a tick repellent product that contains DEET. Check yourself and your family upon your return indoors. For additional information visit the Sussex County Department of Environmental and Public Health Services website at sussex.nj.us/health