MAR 23, 2017 9:22 AM PDT

Watch out for that tick: understanding Lyme disease


As Spring rounds the corner we all start to get antsy to get outside again. But lurking in that fresh foliage are ticks - small arachnids that carry various diseases. The deer tick is perhaps the most dangerous of them all, infamously known for transmitting Lyme disease from the deer and other animals it lives on to the humans it bites. The CDC reports that every tick season, up to 300,000 are infected with Lyme disease, but only about 30,000 cases are actually diagnosed because symptoms can often appear like the flu.

However Lyme disease is by no means as short-lived as the flu. Many people experience chronic and debilitating joint pain and fatigue. The disease can even affect your memory and thinking capacities because it causes inflammation to the nervous system. Caused by the bacteria borellia burgdorferi, the disease has been around for quite some time - 15 to 20 million years! Basically ever since humans have been getting bitten by ticks!

Although the disease is curable, the longer it goes unnoticed and untreated, the longer symptoms will subsist. Additionally, the characteristics of the bacteria that produce dormant persister cells make it very difficult to eliminate from the body. Because of this, many people live with post-treatment Lyme disease, which does not yet have a guaranteed cure.

By far the best way to fight Lyme disease is to avoid ticks all together. This means doing tick checks on your body and clothing (and your children and pets too) every time you enter and leave an area where ticks are likely to live (forests, marshes, pastures, etc.). Using bug repellent and essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass, and eucalyptus can help ward away ticks too. And long clothing will keep your skin safe from any invaders. If you do think you've gotten bitten, be sure to check with your doctor!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 30, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 30, 2019
How SpaceX's Crew Dragon Will Operate, From Start to Finish
It’s no mystery by now that SpaceX is working hard to earn the right to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station via NASA’s Commerci...
JAN 29, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 29, 2020
Milk, a Controversial Food?
When it comes to foods with a controversial reputation, milk isn't your usual suspect. First and foremost, we humans are mammals and breast milk is a q...
JAN 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 28, 2020
A Slug Does All it Can to Defend Against Hungry Ants
Slugs are slow, and this makes them easy targets for predators however big or small they might be. Here, we see that a slug has been spotted by a hungry co...
FEB 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 09, 2020
Here's Why NASA Needs Another Space Station Orbiting the Moon
NASA already has the International Space Station at its disposal, and with that in mind, many have come to question why the American space agency plans to...
FEB 11, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 11, 2020
How the World's Fastest Cat Compares to the World's Fastest Dog
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal; their powerful hind legs give them incredible launching power and their stretchy spines provide a massi...
FEB 13, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 13, 2020
What is Antimatter, the "Most Expensive" Substance on Earth?
Scientists have long theorized that our world shouldn't have existed, because the equal amount of matter and antimatter created during the toddlerhood...
Loading Comments...