Warmer Weather Means Increased Threat Of Lyme Disease

(CBS) — Health experts are warning that the warmer weather coming this spring brings ticks and the very real danger of Lyme disease.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports on how to keep the pest at bay.

The deer tick is the creature at the center of Lyme disease. An adult male tick is about the size of sesame seed, a juvenile, the size of a poppy seed.

“If you’re not used to seeing those small ticks, you probably won’t recognize it as a tick,” said Dr. Jeff Nelson of North Park University.

“Other ways to distinguish this tick are to look at mouth parts.

Dr. Jeff Nelson is a biology professor specializing in tick borne illnesses at North Park University. Nelson says soon after infection, a person usually gets a bull’s eye rash where the tick has bitten them in the center. In some cases, like on this person’s arm, a rash can appear anywhere from days to weeks later and the border of the rash, expands.

One of the best ways to avoid Lyme disease is to walk on nature paths and try to avoid heavily wooded areas when you’re in the forest.

Recently, 80’s pop star Debbie Gibson announced she has been battling Lyme disease. Nelson says Gibson’s story can help raise awareness.

“We encourage people to do a deer tick check the day after they come back from the woods and also the following day, ’cause if you remove even an infected tick within 24 hours, the likelihood of getting disease is pretty small,” said Nelson.

Beyond the obvious rash, symptoms can include arthritis pain in large joints and in rare cases a temporary pacemaker to regulate the heart because of damage. In most cases, antibiotics should resolve the disease.

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