Risk of Tick-Borne Lyme Disease Increasing for Older Adults… Here’s How to Defend Yourself
No matter how old you are, Lyme disease is no laughing matter. But, it is young children and older adults that tend to be hit especially hard by this tick-borne illness.
The only silver-lining, historically speaking, was the Lyme disease tended to be fairly concentrated geographically, impacting primarily people in the North Eastern United States.
Of course, this was bad news for our sisters in New England, but, it also meant that the rest of us, generally speaking, didn’t need to worry too much about this illness.
Lyme Disease Now a Problem in All 50 States
Well, according to the lab, Quest Diagnostics, it may be time for older adults from all over the U.S. to start paying closer attention to the risks of Lyme disease. Specifically, the company said that cases of Lyme disease have now been detected in all 50 U.S. states.
Part of the reason for this shift may come down to climate change. Ticks, like many insects, thrive in warmer environments and are expanding their territories as the mercury rises.
Another reason – and this is just my own opinion – is that our generation tends to be more active than previous groups of older adults. We are not content to sit at home all day, every day. We are getting out into the world, exploring our national parks and camping with our grandkids. In other words, we are increasingly spending time in locations that expose us to ticks, mosquitoes and other insects.
So, What Can We Do to Fight Back Against Ticks?
There are really two stages to fighting back against ticks and other disease carrying insects.
First, we need to focus on prevention. Wearing clothing that covers more of our bodies can help to keep insects at bay. It’s also a good way, when combined with sunscreen, to keep our skin protected from the sun and, ultimately, healthy. Using an effective insect repellent is also a good idea.
Second, our last line of defense should be identification of any potential problems. This means checking ourselves for ticks regularly, especially when we are spending time in wooded areas. If you see something that looks like a tick bite, don’t wait to see if it will “get better on its own!” Go to your doctor immediately!
Here’s a short video that explains how to protect yourself from ticks.
Do you worry about tick and mosquito bites when you spend time outdoors? What do you do to protect yourself? Let’s have a chat!
Editor’s note: nothing in this article should be considered medical advice. Please contact your doctor if you have any concerns about Lyme disease.