Summer is right around the corner and more outdoor time means more risk for tick bites and Lyme disease.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and the CDC has a number of tips for identifying and preventing the frightening tick-borne disease.
Christi Paul reports in today's Health Minute.
When you're spending time outside, you may think to protect yourself from mosquitos, but the CDC warns you have more of a chance of getting seriously ill from ticks.
More cases of lyme disease from blacklegged ticks are reported than any other bug-borne disease in the US, mainly in the northeast and upper midwest, and the consequences can be serious.
Symptoms include a bullseye rash, fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes.
Sometimes the disease can go undiagnosed, and if left untreated, more serious symptoms can include bell's palsy, heart palpitations and joint pain.
"A physician may not think of Lyme disease, may not test for Lyme disease and therefore, a person may be infected for months, maybe even years without knowing it."
Doctors say the key is to protect yourself.
So, if you're in a wooded area, wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants, tucked into your socks.
You should also spray a bug repellant that contains deet on your skin and clothing.
And do tick checks after being outside, even in your own yard.
If you do find a tick, use pointy tweezer to remove it at the head, and keep an eye out for symptoms of lyme disease.
For today's Health Minute, I'm Christi Paul.
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