WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) — A new report this month suggests higher risks of Lyme disease this spring.
According to findings from a team at New York’s Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies led by Dr. Richard Ostfeld, changes in acorns and mouse populations will lead to a surge in Lyme disease this spring.
Fewer acorns equal fewer white-footed mice, this results in “ticked off ticks” so to speak. The ticks will increasingly look to humans for their blood meals. According to the study, this will cause a spike in Lyme disease risks.
Monte Skall of McLean was bitten in the past right in her front yard. Since then, she’s made it her mission to inform the public about tick-borne illnesses. She is the Executive Director of the National Capital Lyme and Tick Borne Disease Association.
Skall says, “The best thing to do is be aware, education is key here.”
Be careful in areas with high grassy areas, including backyards and golf courses.
“You need to be educated to dress properly, to check yourself for ticks after you’ve been outdoors and done outdoor activities. And to seek the proper medical treatment if you to have a tick attachment.”, says Skall.
If you see a tick attached to you, use tweezers to remove the tick.
Skall adds, “The proper way is to use fine point tweezers, get at the base where the head of the tick is attached and very gently pull it straight up and try to get the head with the body. Once it is removed, place it in a baggie and take it to a lab.”
Dr. Samuel Shor of Internal Medicine of Northern Virginia, says a tick bite may or may not produce a bullseye rash. However there are other symptoms to look for.
Dr. Shor says, “anywhere from five days to 15 days after the tick bite there could be a flu-like illness, low grade fever, aches and muscle pain.
Lyme disease is easily treated if caught early. The peak tick season is also longer this year because of our milder-than-average winter and spring.