Today is May 1st, and this month is known as Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through tick bites which are most active during the warmer months. Our Brad Vivacqua is at Onondaga Lake Park with more.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- If you're out in an open area, particularly near some woods or at the park, you may want to give this issue some extra thought and use a little precaution.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 30,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. in 2009.
Kathleen Wallace Bass is the spokeswoman for the Central New York chapter of the Empire State Lyme Disease Association. Three years ago, Bass was bitten by a tick. After several visits to the doctor, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. She says it took a while before doctors realized she had Lyme disease and she wants people to realize how it has changed her life.
She's now a chronic late stage patient who takes about 40 pills daily and does infrared therapy a few times each week.
"I did not know I was bitten. I did not have a bulls-eyes rash at all. It has changed every aspect of my life. Financially, trying to find a physician, the side effects, the co-infections, it has pretty much taken over my life at this point," said Kathleen Wallace Bass, CNY Empire State Lyme Disease Association.
Typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and fatigue. Bass says if you suspect you've been bitten by a tick, you should get to the doctor immediately.
Here are a few tips from the CDC to better protect yourself from Lyme disease:
-Try to avoid high grass areas and walk in the center of trails while hiking.
-Use insect repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET.
-Conduct a full-body check upon returning from tick infested areas.
You're encouraged to learn more about the Empire State Lyme Disease Association. You can also attend a free seminar which will be held on Thursday, May 17th at 7 p.m. at the Saab Sensis Corporation. That's located at 5717 Enterprise Parkway in East Syracuse. Call (315) 687-6540 to register.
Visit www.empirestatelymediseaseassociation.org for more information.