Check for Ticks
Dear Bay Weekly:
Eight years ago, I thought I had picked up a little poison ivy on the back of my knee. My doctor verified it was. However, when extreme fatigue, tingling in my hands and memory hesitations became pronounced, it was apparent that I was dealing with more. The facial paralysis that followed was correctly diagnosed as Bell’s palsy. The rest of the symptoms were incorrectly diagnosed as multiple sclerosis.
I had actually contracted Lyme Disease. The aches and pains, the fatigue, the memory struggles, colds, ear infections, hoarseness, poor balance, sleeping problems, face/eye twitches, sluggishness in thinking, lower concentration level, moods, neck stiffness/cracking, eye sight problems and weight gain, though greatly improved, still remain. I have become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Reported Lyme disease cases in Maryland have doubled since 2000. Nationwide as well, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the annual reported cases more than doubled to 23,000 by 2005. This makes it the most common illness transmitted by bugs or animals in the United States. CDC also states that only a small percentage of cases are actually reported.
The growing crisis needs to be a concern for all of us.
The best precaution is avoidance.
Ticks cannot jump, hop or fly. You must brush up against one for it to attach. Ticks generally crawl from the bottom up.
When you’re going outside, apply insect repellent containing DEET (n,n-diethyl-m-toluamide) to exposed skin and clothes. Avoid deer paths and other animal trails as well as the area where the grassline meets the woods. Avoid leaf litter, tall grass and low brush. Use extra care while mowing your lawn, especially any areas that have last year’s leaves and low hanging foliage. Be observant around birdfeeders.
Be watchful at ballgames and parks. Use insect repellent (at least on feet, including between toes, on shoes, socks and legs, especially behind your knees).
Brush off clothes before going inside, and make sure that little crawly feeling is really nothing. When you, people in your care and pets come indoors, check for ticks.
Ticks can survive the washing machine but not the heat from a dryer exposed for least 16 minutes. Ticks can live in your house, unattached, for a couple of days.
Don’t be paranoid but don’t be foolish. Please take Lyme seriously. It could change your life, your children’s life and your family’s life.
Cheryl Emery, Owings
Dear Bay Weekly:
I wanted to thank you for Carrie Madren’s great story on bacteria [Micro-Monsters Lurk in Chesapeake Waters: Vol. xv, No. 25: June 21]. It was the most comprehensive treatment of the subject I have seen in a newspaper.
Bob Gallagher, Shady Side:
Department of Corrections
In Letters to the Editor of July 5 (Vol. xv, No. 27), the Return of Mt. Harmony’s Young Foresters, teacher Judy Mansfield’s name was misprinted.