Lyme disease advocates are warning the public to be cautious when going outside

Health

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — With many outdoor events taking place, social distancing isn’t the only thing you should be cautious of.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Maryland has some of the highest numbers of infected ticks that carry Lyme disease. And with many events taking place outside, Lyme disease advocates want to warn the public to be careful. 

The disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans.

Hagerstown local Ashley Baker makes it her mission to spread awareness of the impact of Lyme disease on a person’s life.

“I was diagnosed in May 2018 and it’s really important for me to let people know that Lyme disease is a problem in Maryland, and this summer while people are out enjoying time outdoors during quarantine, I want them to remember that it’s important to be aware of ticks.” said Baker

Overcoming the disease has been challenging for Baker, she grew severely ill and was forced to give up a lot and adjust to a different norm. Baker says when she was first diagnosed, all she felt was constant pain.

But as time went on, she adjusted and got stronger. Now she is on the path of getting her degree and focusing on music, but she wants to urge the public to be cautious.

Right now, is the best time for us to become our own advocates, and to find our voices and to watch out for things that we’re not aware of, such as a tick. said Baker.

Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using:

  • Insect repellent
  • Removing ticks promptly
  • Applying pesticides
  • Reducing tick habitat

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