The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) report that most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. A better, more effective treatment for Lyme disease is prevention.
Avoid tall grass and dense woody vegetation. Use a DEET-based repellent on clothes and exposed skin. Or wear clothing treated with long-lasting tick repellents. Tuck pant legs into socks and wrap in duck tape. Do frequent tick checks, even while in your own backyard.
And don't forget to check the car. After a field trip to a favorite park or wild area, ticks can get into a pile of sweatshirts or slip into joints in the upholstery where they can stay alive for months. So shake off all clothing before throwing it into the back seat.
If you find an attached tick, here's advice from the CDC. Do not squeeze the tick and pull it out with your fingers. This only forces possibly infected blood into the bite site.
Instead, use a fine tipped tweezer to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. If the mouthparts break off, remove them with the tweezers. Then clean the area with rubbing alcohol and soap and water.
And if a few days later you find a tell-tale bull's-eye rash, or develop symptoms such as chills, fever, headache, achy muscles, swollen lymph nodes, and/or fatigue, see a physician familiar with Lyme disease.
Reach Shalaway at sshala...@aol.com or 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033.