"Lyme disease season is always the spring, summer and fall. When the weather is warm, the ticks come out," said Diane Marchesani, an Infectious Diseases Specialist at AtlantiCareRegionalMedicalCenter.
And that's why Marchesani is urging folks here in South Jersey to be cautious of these little creatures.
"In fact, 95% of all Lyme disease cases happen in 13 states in this country. New Jersey is one of them. Anytime you spend any amount of time outside in the woods, or even gardening in your yard, you should check yourself for ticks," said Marchesani.
But how do you know if you have Lyme disease? Marchesani says the symptoms are pretty noticeable.
"The hallmark and the classic rash associated with Lyme disease is a bull's eye rash. If you see anything that looks like a bull's eye on your skin, see your doctor," said Marchesani.
Other symptoms include fever and body aches.
"Early Lyme disease, when it's treated, usually has no residual symptoms. People get better after they complete their course of antibiotics," said Marchesani.
If the disease is left untreated, Marchesani says neurological complications can arise, but only in rare cases.
"People can also get Bell's Palsy, which is a weakness of the face. You get a drooping face either on one or both sides of your face," said Marchesani.
But where does the Lyme bacteria originate? Marchesani says it's not from the ticks.
"The Lyme bacteria actually live in the White–footed mouse. How people become infected is the tick will bite the mouse, and the tick will then hitch a ride on the deer. Throughout the course of its life it'll bite a person," said Marchesani.
And that's why Lyme disease is an issue here in South Jersey.
"Deer are very prevalent in our area. The tick bites the deer, and the deer travel all over our community. They travel into our garden and backyard. After the ticks fall off the deer, that's how they find you," said Marchesani.
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