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It will likely be a few more years before we know the full impact the pandemic had on the number of cases of Lyme disease. Reports from labs, like ANY LAB TEST NOW®, that test for Lyme Disease, already show a six percent increase in exposure over the last year — a number expected to increase even more.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 476,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year with Lyme disease, the result of a single bite from a tick.

On top of that, there are currently more than two million people in the U.S. suffering from chronic illness associated with Lyme disease.

Thanks to the pandemic, more people have been spending more time outdoors, increasing their risk of contracting Lyme disease. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outdoors, walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood. Ticks can also show up in unexpected places. Researchers in California were recently surprised to find ticks in areas of grass and scrub leading to beaches.

Preventing Tick Bites

It is important to know when ticks are active and what steps you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick.

Ticks are active from March through November — or anytime the temperature is above freezing. Click here for a map that shows the most active months for ticks in your state.

Before Heading Outdoors

If you are an avid walker and love to venture out into areas where ticks might be active, you should consider treating your clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin.

You can also use tick-repelling products. Look for repellents registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone.

After Coming Indoors

Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes require washing first, always use hot water.

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can be transferred into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, bags, etc.

Take a shower. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks.

Check your body for ticks. Conduct a full body check. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body.

Important: If you do find a tick attached to yourself, you should always save it so you can send it to your local health department for identification and testing to see if it carries Lyme disease.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

You may also experience a bull’s-eye rash known as erythema migrans (EM), which occurs in about 70 to 80 percent of infected persons. This rash appears between three to 30 days at the site of a tick bite.

Later Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The following symptoms can occur weeks to months after a bite from an infected tick:

  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face).
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones.
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat.
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath.
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet.

Diagnosis and Treatment

ANY LAB TEST NOW offers a simple blood test that will help detect and measure antibodies that the body produces in an attempt to fight the disease. The presence of antibodies cannot always determine if the Lyme disease infection is recent or due to a tick bite in the past, but it can put you and your doctor on the right path to helping you feel better.

If your results are negative and your symptoms are still present, it’s a good idea to perform a repeat test. It can take up to two months for antibodies to develop.

After getting your results at your local ANY LAB TEST NOW, you should see your doctor. The good news is that most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated by a few weeks of antibiotics, according to the CDC.

Be at Ease

ANY LAB TEST NOW wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including testing for Lyme disease.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. ANY LAB TEST NOW is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help.

For more information about ANY LAB TEST NOW, and the tests we offer, visit us at www.anylabtestnow.com.