Coloradans are known to love hiking, being outside and getting into the mountains. Colorado also has ticks, which can cause problems to our health, including Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in these regions, Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. You're more likely to get Lyme disease if you live or spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where ticks carrying Lyme disease thrive. It's important to know the signs and symptoms and take common-sense precautions in tick-infested areas. According to the Mayo Clinic the following signs and symptoms are often common with Lyme disease.
Signs and Symptoms:Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary. They usually appear in stages, but the stages can overlap.
Stage 1: Early signs and symptomsA small, red bump, similar to the bump of a mosquito bite, often appears at the site of a tick bite, or often the actual tick will be in the place of the bite. A tick removal and red bum often resolves over a few days. This normal occurrence doesn't indicate Lyme disease. However, these signs and symptoms can occur within a month after you've been infected:
- Rash. From three to 30 days after an infected tick bite, an expanding red area might appear that sometimes clears in the center, forming a bull's-eye pattern. The rash (Erythema migrans) expands slowly over days and can spread to 12 inches (30 centimeters) across. It's typically not itchy or painful but might feel warm to the touch.
- Erythema migrans is one of the hallmarks of Lyme disease, although not everyone with Lyme disease develops the rash. Some people develop this rash at more than one place on their bodies.
- Other symptoms. Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness and swollen lymph nodes can accompany the rash.
Stage 2: Later signs and symptomsIf you do have Lyme disease and it goes untreated untreated, new signs and symptoms of Lyme infection might appear in the following weeks to months. These include:
- Erythema migrans. The rash may appear on other areas of your body.
- Joint pain. Bouts of severe joint pain and swelling are especially likely to affect your knees, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.
- Neurological problems. Weeks, months or even years after infection, you might develop inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell's palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement.
When to see your doctorIf you've been bitten by a tick and have symptoms Only a minority of tick bites leads to Lyme disease. The longer the tick remains attached to your skin, the greater your risk of getting the disease. Lyme infection is unlikely if the tick is attached for less than 36 to 48 hours. If you think you've been bitten and have signs and symptoms of Lyme disease — particularly if you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent — contact your doctor. Treatment for Lyme disease is more effective if begun early. See your doctor even if symptoms disappear Consult your doctor even if signs and symptoms disappear — the absence of symptoms doesn't mean the disease is gone. Untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of your body for several months to years after infection, causing arthritis and nervous system problems. Ticks can also transmit other illnesses, such as babesiosis and Colorado tick fever.
Bug Bites Outside summer fun also generally means being exposed to bug bites. Whether you’re in the water, on a mountain trail, or in your backyard, the wildlife you encounter have ways of protecting themselves and their territory. Insects such as bees, ants, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, wasps, and arachnids may bite or sting. The initial contact of a bite may be painful. It’s often followed by an allergic reaction to the bit or sting on your skin through the insect’s mouth or stinger. Most bites and stings trigger nothing more than minor discomfort, but some encounters can be deadly, especially if you have severe allergies to the insect venom. Bug Bite Prevention Prevention is the best medicine, so knowing how to recognize and avoid biting and stinging animals or insects is the best way to stay safe. The animals you should recognize and understand depend very much on where you live or where you’re visiting. Different regions of the United States are home to many of these creatures. Some common prevention methods, specifically for bugs like the common mosquito, which are in full force right now include mosquito sprays such as Deet or OFF, but other methods such as citronella plants or candles can also help. The season you are in, such as summer, also matters. For example, mosquitoes, stinging bees, and wasps tend to come out in full force during the summer. Tips to Apply Repellent In order to be effective, when applying bug repellent make sure to follow the following directions:
- Apply repellent only to exposed skin or clothing (as directed on the product label). Never put it on under clothing.
- Use just enough to cover and only for as long as needed; heavier doses don’t work better and can increase risks.
- Don’t apply repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin. When applying to your face, spray first on your hands, then rub in, avoiding your eyes and mouth, and using sparingly around ears.
- Don’t let young children apply. Instead, put it on your own hands, then rub it on. Limit use on children’s hands because they often put their hands in their eyes and mouths.
- Don’t use near food, and wash hands after application and before eating or drinking.
- At the end of the day, wash treated skin with soap and water, and wash treated clothing in a separate wash before wearing again.
- If you’re planning to use repellents on your clothes, note that most of the ones we tested damaged leather and vinyl, and some of them stained synthetic fabrics. Wash repellent off your skin and launder treated clothes.
Ticks and Lyme Disease This year, happens to be another record high tick season. If you’re not familiar with Ticks, ticks are pesky small arachnid insects, similar to mites. They live by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. And, they also carry Lyme Disease. A recent CDC study found that cases of Lyme increased more than 80% in the last two years and that there are an estimated 300,000+ cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year. Lyme Disease is caused by bacteria transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected tick (black-legged or deer ticks). Lyme Disease can occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite and can have a wide-range of symptoms depending on the stage of the infection. In some cases, symptoms can appear months after the bite and are often undiagnosed due to the wide range of symptoms the disease can cause. With the influx of ticks this year, the following bullets outline how you can prevent tick bites, ultimately leading to lyme disease.
Before You Go Outdoors
- Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside 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.
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone.
- Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
- Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
- Avoid Contact with Ticks
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
- Walk in the center of trails.
After You Come 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 are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.
- Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.
- Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tick-borne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
- Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
Discover the power of play and adventure this month. It’s summer and it’s July - National Parks and Recreation Month. We are so lucky to have as many wonderful parks for us and our family to play or exercise in. Or even just to relax, meditate, and take a break from the general craziness of life. For children and adults, play is a vital part of our mental wellbeing, physical health and personal interactions. We challenge you to get your play on at your local parks and recreation. Whether it’s summer camp, an adult sports league, exploring a trail, yoga class, meeting friends on the playground, playing cards in the park, or discovering nature — parks and play go hand in hand. And play and exercise also go hand and hand, which promotes a healthy and active lifestyle. Each July since 1985, America has celebrated Park and Recreation Month, a program of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The goal is to raise awareness of the vital impact that parks, recreation and conservation has on communities across the U.S. Parks are the cornerstone of nearly every community, serving millions of people as the places anyone can go to be active, live healthier, connect with nature and gather together. Get out there and play in your local park! Enjoy it and have fun outside.
We’re in full swing - Summer! While sunny skies and warm temperatures do more than make our environment a pleasant place. They also provide some very significant benefits to our health and wellbeing. Sunlight helps to regulate almost all our bodily processes, as well as acting as psychological encouragement to improve our lifestyle. Here are a few more reasons summer is great for your health:
- There are Reduced Rates of Heart Attacks in the Summer Research indicates that you are less likely to die of a heart attack in the summer than in the winter. In a study of almost 11,000 people who had heart attacks over a period of nine years, survival rate increased by 19 per cent if the attack occurred in the summer. Higher levels of Vitamin D - which is synthesised by sunlight - are also thought to play a protective part in those who suffer heart attacks.
- People eat more fruit Rising temperatures and increased availability of summer fruits make it easier to fulfil the recommended quota of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. They also boost the immune system and, because of their low calorie content, help with weight loss.
- Relieves skin complaints Controlled exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can have a therapeutic effect on skin complaints such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis.
- Increases agility The summer is an excellent time to begin an exercise programme. Not only do summer clothes provide an incentive to get the body in shape, but the feel-good factor created by sunlight boosts our enthusiasm to begin a fitness regime. Exercise is not only the most effective way to burn up excess calories, but also improves the vital flow of oxygen to the brain, lowering stress levels and improving powers of concentration.
- Increases our water consumption Water is vital to thousands of chemical processes that take place in the body's cells to enable it to function. These include promoting digestion, regulating body temperature, improving the health and vitality of our skin and flushing toxins from the body. In the summer months we are more inclined to drink the recommended two litres of water a day needed for optimum health.
- Helps to regulate sleep disorders Waking up to the sun and getting early-morning exposure to its light can help those suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia. This is because sunlight helps the body's internal biological clock reset itself. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of sunlight between 7am and 9am each morning to help those who have problems getting to sleep at night.
It's hot! In Colorado, many try to beat that summer heat with air conditioning units or swamp coolers. Wether it's at the office or in your home, many often wonder how we would survive without air conditioning (AC). Many people turn on the AC as soon as the temperature rises above 70 degrees, or whenever the heat starts making you uncomfortable. But did you know that turning on the AC can be harmful to your health? Poorly-maintained or older AC units have been shown to spread disease and cause health conditions such as respiratory conditions. With it being everywhere during hot summer months it is important to maintain your unit and protect indoor air quality (as well as yourself). Additional Reasons AC Unit can Cause Poor Air Quality:
- Most residential units recirculate indoor air to save energy
- When basic maintenance such as changing the filters is not performed, airflow is restricted throughout the space
- Dirty air filters will not stop allergens, pesticides and other outside irritants from entering your home
- Window units that are not properly sealed let in outside air, undermining the work of the unit
- Make sure to check the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning or changing your unit's air filters
- Open the windows as much as you can. Allow fresh air to circulate in your home and flush out pollutants
- Have an HVAC technician perform annual maintenance checks
- Buy a new AC unit every 10 years
- Turn the temperature up, or turn the unit off altogether, at night or when the house is empty
- Try using the fan-only mode on your AC unit