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Lyme Disease advocate encourages residents to protect themselves from ticks

Ticks can carry different diseases – including Lyme disease -- potentially spreading it to humans. There are now concerns that the range of certain ticks are spreading and so is the length of time they can stick around.
Posted at 2:32 PM, Jul 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-04 17:14:46-04

BALTIMORE — We are officially two weeks into the summer season and a lot of people are enjoying the outdoors, but while you're out grilling and celebrating Fourth of July, experts want you to be mindful of ticks, as one bite can change your life.

Ashley Baker is a Maryland native who never thought a tick bite would hospitalize her for months and force her to give up part of her young adult life.

In 2018, Baker was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and because it was caught late, her health took a turn for the worse.

"I lost my job, I had to stop going to school, I was in bed 14 hours a day, it was really it was the darkest time of my life," said Baker.

According to health experts, Lyme Disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Anne Arundel County, as well as in Maryland.

The disease is caused by the bite of a tiny black-legged tick, which are found in tall grass areas and wooded areas.

If bitten, people can notice symptoms in as little as three days. A major indicator to Lyme Disease is a skin rash that has a "Bull's eye" appearance, near the tick bite.

"People can also experience more nonspecific symptoms such as body aches, joint aches and fevers. For many people it's just very insidious symptoms that they may dismiss. The rash is usually what begins to get people's attention and begins their conversation with their general practitioner," said Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, MHS Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Most Lyme Disease can be treated if caught early, but if caught late it's a whole different ball game. Baker says as a young adult its not only physically taxing, but it takes an emotional toll on you.

"It can be hard to have to keep taking treatment especially being in your twenties. I see everybody else is at different phases and points of their life, but me I have to keep being treated and go through this disease. Sometimes its hard, but I know I was dealt this story for a reason," said Baker.

According to the Mayo Clinic, people can limit the risk of getting Lyme disease by:

  1. Covering up your body in wooded and grass areas
  2. Use insect repellents specifically for ticks
  3. Do your best to tick-proof your yard. ...
  4. Check your clothing and your pets for ticks
  5. Remove a tick as soon as possible with tweezers