Chad Dawes and his wife had just been to Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve this week in Naperville when they noticed a tick in their son's hair.
They quickly removed it and checked the rest of his body for others before going home. It is a precaution taken seriously by the 39-year-old resident of Montgomery after suffering from Lyme disease for nearly 10 years. He had all the classic symptoms – extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, trouble concentrating and restless nights.
"The fatigue on some days, when it really touches me that day, is so debilitating that I can not move," said Dawes, who says the illness cost him a job. "Nothing will be done these days."
Ticks are in operation in the Chicago area, with May to July being the most active season for the disease-transmitting insect. At the national level, diseases transmitted by ticks are on the rise. Between 2004 and 201
Ticks can be the size of a poppy. Can you see all 5 ticks in this photo? Learn how to prevent tick bites. https://t.co/ATtrY7YFoS pic.twitter.com/gBm4tw2qmf
– CDC (@CDCgov) May 4, 2018
In response, the CDC has launched its awareness campaign to warn the public , Last week, the Federal Health Service tweeted a picture of a poppy seed muffin crawling with five tiny ticks and warned the public about how small the harmful insect might be
It is difficult to find the ticks under the poppy seeds. This is worrying given that ticks, in addition to Lyme disease, can also transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia and more to pets and humans.
Aurora resident Kristen Gasser knows that only too well. Ticks have infected her twice with Lyme disease – once during college on a climbing trip to Wisconsin and most recently in 2011 in her backyard.
"It's so common and people do not realize it," Gasser said. 19659011] Gasser and her husband have been researching treatments for years to reduce side effects such as tiredness, joint pain and memory loss. But living with the disease has also become a reality for her, something she has learned to accept.
"You must acknowledge that this is something that may never go away, but you can do things that can improve your symptoms the way you feel," Gasser said.
Gasser and Dawes agree that prevention and protection against tick-borne diseases is the most important step. Here are a few ways to protect yourself, your family and your pets, according to the Lake County Health Department:
• Avoid wooded and brushy areas with tall grass and foliage.
• But if you are the type of person who loves nature, wear light protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or shoes with closed toes, and a hat or hat. Put long pants in your socks and put your shirt on. (People affected by Lyme disease will tell you it's worth it.)
• Apply insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin or IR3535. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.
• Check ticks on yourself, your children and pets, and outdoor gear. Some diseases are not transmitted immediately, so it is important to find and remove ticks quickly.
• To remove ticks, use fine forceps to grip the tick near the skin and pull it up with slow, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk. Folk remedies such as ticks with a hot match or the application of oils or Vaseline let the tick penetrate deeper into the skin or at least delay the removal.
• Once the tick is removed, disinfect the bite area and wash hands with soap and water