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Lyme Disease 101
Be wary of Lyme disease this summer!
Hey there hikers, backpackers, and lovers of the outdoors and welcome back to our blog! There are many risks associated with taking to the outdoors with not much more than a tent, some snacks, and clothing! When outdoors, you run the risk of injuring yourself on a fall, getting a painful sunburn, or being bitten by bugs. While most bites are annoying and itchy, some can be especially detrimental to your health if you aren’t careful.
One dangerous disease contracted from tick bites is the infamous Lyme disease. The prognosis of this particular disease isn’t pretty and it affects thousands of people every year. Light Hiking Gear feels passionate about prioritizing the comfort and safety of our customers, and this mindset goes far past providing you with comfortable backpacks. Today, we’re going to talk about Lyme disease, what it is, what it does, and how to protect yourself next time you go hiking or backpacking!
What is it?
Lyme disease is a disease that develops after being bit by an infected tick. While you should be wary of tick bites everywhere you travel to, Lyme disease is most prevalent in the Northeastern part of the United States. The disease is usually transferred by younger ticks and anyone who is bitten is susceptible to contracting the disease. These ticks like to hide in wooded areas and have a tendency to latch onto skin at every chance that they get.
What are the symptoms?
One of the first symptoms that shows up after infection is a rash that resembles a bullseye.
This rash usually appears about a week after the initial bite and is often accompanied by symptoms such as a fever, chills, and fatigue, which appear between three and thirty days after the infection has entered your body. If you experience these symptoms, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible before the disease progresses and worsens. If left untreated, these symptoms can evolve into migraines, dizziness, joint and muscle fatigue, and can even become as bad as brain and spinal cord inflammation, which is particularly dangerous.
Seeing a doctor can mean the difference between symptoms disappearing shortly after the initial infection and months to years of complications. A doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic regimen which will help to clear your body of the disease before it has the chance to progress. Without proper treatment and care, your initial infection could turn into Post-Lyme Disease syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, which is painful and dangerous.
How do you prevent it?
If you plan on hiking, especially in these areas, our best hiking backpack brand highly recommends covering your skin with both insect repellent and clothing. We understand that it gets hot outside, especially during the summer in the Northeast, but the risks associated with contracting Lyme disease far outweigh feeling sweaty in the sun. Additionally, be extra careful when hiking during rainy seasons, as ticks tend to thrive in moist environments. Last but not least, always make sure to check your entire body for ticks that may have latched on! Because the ticks that tend to be infectious are usually young, they’re likely going to require vigilant searching to find them. The good news, however, is that if you find the tick quickly enough, your chances of contracting Lyme disease aren’t nearly as high.
Thanks for reading today’s post and we hope that it was informative about Lyme disease. Far too many people are affected by this disease that isn’t difficult to prevent. Next time you go hiking, backpacking, or traveling through the woods, make sure to protect your skin and check for ticks consistently! Thank you!