Keep Your Cape Cod Getaway Lyme Free
January 22, 2013, 2:51 am
Lyme disease isn’t pleasant to think about, but can be avoided. Taking these steps will help to make sure your time on Cape Cod is full of fun and free of Lyme.
As anyone who has spent much time on Cape Cod knows, this is a place where amazing opportunities for outdoor adventures abound. Whether strolling along pristine beaches, camping in state parks, salt- and freshwater fishing or spending time on the links, there’s always something to do here.
With this wonderful outdoor living come a few downsides, however. And one of those downsides that we all need to think about—especially as we begin to plan our spring and summer Cape Cod seasons, is Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is named for the town of Lyme, Connecticut. It was in Lyme, as well as in several surrounding towns, where physicians and researchers noted an outbreak of rheumatoid arthritis cases among local children. After learning that those who mysteriously developed the disease played in wooded areas, it was eventually determined it was caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread by deer ticks (sometimes referred to as black-legged ticks.)
According to studies conducted by the CDC and other agencies, Lyme disease is now the most prevalent tick-borne illness in the United States. Massachusetts is one of the states with the highest incidence of Lyme disease, with Cape Cod specifically having a high incidence of Lyme disease. In addition to people of all ages, animals can also be infected, including dogs, cats and horses.
Symptoms of Lyme disease include an expanding rash, fever, headaches, joint pain and other flu-like symptoms. Left untreated, it may lead to the development of arthritis, neurological problems and even heart problems. If you believe you may be infected, it is important that you see your physician as soon as possible so that you may begin the recommended 14-21 day course of antibiotics. Please note that if your central nervous system has been affected by Lyme disease, you may need intravenous antibiotics.
And although there is some debate about it, the CDC indicates that if you have had Lyme disease in the past, you can still be infected again—it is not a disease for which a vaccination is available or against which your body can build immunity. In addition, some individuals with Lyme disease may have continuing ill-effects, including fatigue and muscle aches.
Given these facts, you may be thinking twice about heading outdoors this season. But since nobody wants to give up Cape Cod fun and sun, we’re here to share some great ways to avoid becoming infected. Several come from www.lymeticks.org, the website of Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod:
Protect yourself and your family
- Wear tightly woven, light colored clothes to make it easy to spot ticks
- If you have long hair, keep it tied back
- Consider using Avon Skin-So-Soft on your skin (can be applied directly) or an insect repellant with DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide)
- Use permethrin on clothing, or wear clothing pre-treated with repellents which can be purchased at L.L.Bean, REI, Columbia, and other retailers
- Do a tick check often, both while you’re out and when you return home, checking your hair, under your arms, behind your knees and in other places ticks like to hide
If you find a tick, don’t try to pull it out with your fingers, cover it with petroleum jelly or burn it with a match. Instead, follow these instructions from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Protect your animals
- Talk to your veterinarian about medications for tick prevention
- Keep hair clipped short
- Don’t let your pets stay outside for long periods of time
- Do a tick check often
Guard your yard
- Have your yard professionally sprayed
- Enlist the services of a exterminator to have your home and yard evaluated for pests which carry ticks
Lyme disease isn’t pleasant to think about, but can be avoided. Taking these steps will help to make sure your time on Cape Cod is full of fun and free of Lyme. (Unless you count the limes found in your favorite pitcher of margaritas!)
La Mer Concierge works with the best service providers on Cape Cod. Contact us today for additional information about yard care companies, veterinarian services, exterminators and more. Call (508) 428-8302 or email Curtis@LaMerConcierge.com.