(NECN: Lauren Collins) - New Hampshire is ranking high on a very serious health problem - it has the second most cases of Lyme Disease in the country, and health officials are concerned that the numbers could rise.
Dr. Julia Greenspan, Founder of Greenhouse Naturopathic Medicine in Amherst, NH and Member of ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society, joined "The Morning Show" to discuss the growing problem.
Dr. Greenspan treats people of all ages with a particular focus on tick-borne disease, women's health, naturopathic pediatrics, environmental medicine, and natural cancer support.
She shared the following:
In the Northeast, ticks were a part of our life as kids. People pulled them without a second thought. Right now there are more ticks thus more infected ticks.
Ticks are nature's dirty needle and if an infection is not treated early enough it can be a devastating disease.
Protection and prevention:
You need to protect yourself with DEET and Permethrin treated clothing.
Do regular tick checks from head to toe for all members of the family, especially pets.
Make sure your clothes go through a hot dryer cycle.
Don't tick off the tick. The old wives' tales are dangerous. Burning it with a match or using alcohol will cause the tick to release the bacteria in its stomach right into your bloodstream. Instead put the tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull with a continuous motion straight out trying to leave the head in tack.
Save, Store, Test, Treatment: Save the tick in a ziplock bag with a moist cotton ball. Store in a safe place and send out for testing within 72 hours. There's a lot of information in that bug and early treatment with antibiotics and significantly reduce your chances of long term illness
Symptoms to watch for:
Most common symptoms are flu like: headache, joint pain, fever. Many of Julia's patients didn't get the bulls eye rash. Sometimes there is no rash or the rash can resemble a spider bite. Fifty percent of Julia's patients don't remember being bitten.
Lyme is the great imitator and Julia has seen people misdiagnosed because many symptoms can come on slowly and look like other diseases. Plus the tick can inject you with multiple infections with one bite. Julia has seen young people debilitated with neurological, cardiovascular, and reduced immunity, and teenagers bedridden.