Lyme Disease on the Rise in Indiana – Department of Health Warns to Check for Ticks
Lyme disease cases are on the rise in the Hoosier state.
Lyme Disease is an infection that can be transmitted through the bite of a tick. According to the Indiana Department of Health, if Lyme disease is left untreated it can cause serious complications.
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted in Indiana by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis). Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in Indiana and in the United States. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash with a characteristic “bulls-eye” appearance. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually will appear anywhere from 3-30 days after the bite of an infected tick.
How to Protect Yourself Against Lyme Disease
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for Lyme disease so the absolute best thing you can do is prevent tick bites as much as possible. The Indiana Department of Health has an entire web page dedicated to tick prevention, which you can find here.
Here are a few key takeaways:
- Avoid grassy, brushy, wooded areas whenever possible.
- Wear EPA-registered insect repellents and reapply often when spending time outdoors
- Reduce the amount of exposed skin- wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible, tuck shirt into pants, and tuck pant leg into shoes/boots.
While these are a few great ways to help you avoid a tick bite, the reality is, you can get bitten by a tick by working in your landscaping or walking your dog, so it's also important to do a check for ticks every time you come in from outside.
The Indiana Department of Health says Lyme disease is on the rise, but checking for ticks and getting them off of you within 24 hours of a bite can reduce your chances of contracting Lyme disease:
Lyme disease cases are on the rise in Indiana, with over 200 human cases in 2021. After outdoor activity, do a full-body check and remove any ticks within 24 hours of attachment to maintain a very low risk of getting Lyme disease.
They recommend making sure to check in your hair, underarms, belly button, waistline, back of your knees, around your ears, and between your legs for ticks. Don't forget to also check your kids for ticks after they play outside.
Want to read more about Indiana? Check out Indiana's best-hidden gem, here!
Quiz: Do you know your state insect?