While we start to become more active outdoors with the upcoming warmer weather we have been waiting all winter for, it is important to keep in mind one of the most common diseases that can occur during the spring and summer months: Lyme disease.
While Charlottesville and the surrounding countries are home to many beautiful hiking trails and outdoor parks, deer ticks which carry Lyme disease also call this area home. It is important to be aware of the early signs of Lyme disease and seek medical care if you believe you have been bitten by a deer tick.
Deer ticks have a dark red/brown or black body, eight legs, and typically have a dark spot behind their head. They are generally small and do not reach past 3 millimeters in size. If you are concerned you have been bitten by a deer tick, please make an appointment with your medical provider immediately. It is helpful to contain and bring the tick to your appointment.
The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a “bulls eye” rash that can appear within 1-2 weeks after the bite. The rash typically has a red rim with the normal skin coloring in the middle mimicking a bulls eye. The rash is not usually painful, although it can itch. Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, neck stiffness, muscle aches, enlarged lymph nodes, and fevers.
If you are concerned you may have Lyme disease, please make an appointment with us. We will likely do a blood test and may prescribe an antibiotic if there is high suspicion for the disease.
Make sure to check for ticks anytime after hiking, swimming in the river, and camping. Children should always be checked when coming in from playing outside.
Enjoy the warm weather, and happy hiking!