Beware the little things: Avoiding Lyme disease
Submitted by Rich Von Voigt
Riverhead, New York
A very good friend of mine and a LEO K-9 handler just recently reminded me of a little thing about the size of a poppy seed known to us all as the dreaded Deer Tick. These little blood suckers will take a grown man down and out in about two weeks time. Check yourself after a tour of duty if you have been in any areas where these little suckers can get on you.
They are little, they bite, they attach and hang out, and they transmit Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) from their body to yours.
These little buggers will turn your life upside down if not found and removed within two days.
So it is important to understand where they are and how to avoid them and also check yourself when you get the first opportunity.
When you take off your uniform, don't leave it on a couch or bed or anywhere in your home until you have the opportunity to shake it out and really look it over.
Ticks are small, black, and can hide in a wrinkle. So be careful.
Most of us know if we have pets or had pets that they can carry them in from outside, but we can pick them up and carry them too.
Watch for high grassy areas and heavily wooded areas where they like to hang out and wait for you to walk bye so they can have some lunch. Working a motor vehicle accident, searching a wooded area, grappling with a person on the lawn or high weeds — things that can lead to a tick getting on board.
Between 2002-2011 more than 29,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported — mostly in the Northeast — but they have been reported in almost every state in the Good Old USA.
So from me to you, beware of the little things.
Symptoms: rash, bite mark (tick will be there) sore muscles, bulls-eye rash around bite after about two weeks, headache, and sometimes nausea and fever. So if you're not feeling right and you don't know why, get checked out. Now stop scratching and start looking.
Oh, you other LEOs in states with the snakes, spiders as big as houses, and all sorts of other creepy-crawly stuff... you be careful too.
- Officer Safety