Summer is a time to have fun and do all the carefree things with your friends. But it’s also the time when you’re most susceptible to tick-borne diseases. More of your skin is exposed, and you’re out and about in nature, which makes you more vulnerable than any other time of year. Although Lyme disease is the first thing you might think of when it comes to tick-borne illnesses, there’s another one to watch out for this summer: a rare disease called Powassan.
Dr. Jennifer Lyons, chief of the Division of Neurological Infections and Inflammatory Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told CNN that everyone is at risk for the tick-borne disease Powassan. It doesn’t matter what age you are.
And that’s not all. Half of the people infected with Powassan who survive will have “long-term neurological damage.”
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found 75 cases of Powassan in the Great Lakes region, and they expect that the warm winter has contributed to an increase in the tick population. So we might be seeing more tick bites than ever before.
We know it sounds scary, so let’s go over the ways in which you can avoid contracting a tick-borne disease.
Always use insect repellent when you’re outdoors (like DEET), and if you know you’ll be exploring a bushy area, wear long sleeves and pants. As long as you don’t get bitten, you won’t get a tick-borne illness. It’s that simple.
Finally, if you experience inexplicable fever, muscle aches, or any other flu-like symptoms, don’t waste any time in seeing a doctor. Because with Powassan, the sooner you treat it, the better.