The birds are chirping again and it’s no longer pitch-dark at 4 p.m. At long last, summer is approaching (albeit slowly). And while summer is arguably the best time of the year, it’s certainly not without its drawbacks. You already know that warmer weather makes you a little more conscious of the amount of deodorant and sunscreen you need every morning, but what you might not know is that it’s also the season in which Lyme disease becomes more of a threat.
Lyme, an infectious disease spread by ticks, affects at least 30,000 people per year in the U.S., though some studies suggest that number may be as high as 300,000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cases peak during the spring and summer months, with a majority of cases occurring during June and July.
While Lyme disease is treatable, it can be serious if you don’t know the warning signs and seek prompt medical attention. It can lead to flu-like symptoms that escalate to much more serious things, like joint pain and severe headaches in some cases. The good news: It’s also preventable.
Ahead, we answer the need-to-know questions about staying safe from this warm-weather threat.