Where is the best state to live if you don't want to get Lyme disease? Hawaii. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hawaii has not had a recorded case of Lyme disease since 2002.
For those of you who are not familiar with this potentially serious disease, it is spread through infected blacklegged ticks (or deer ticks). It is usually the bite of the immature tick (the nymph), which is only about 2 mm in size - slightly larger than the thickness of a dime. Which makes them difficult to spot. If it's moving, it's not a freckle.
While South Dakota is fortunate to have few recorded incidents of Lyme disease, (0 to 3 per year), our neighboring state, Minnesota, recorded more than 1200 cases in 2007.
Other high-risk states include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Besides the obvious 'ick' factor, Lyme disease is nothing to take lightly. Here are some of the symptoms:
In the early stages (3-30 days post-tick bite), you'll see a red, expanding rash - also called the bulls-eye rash. It can reach up to 12 inches across. Fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches often accompany the rash. Go to a doctor.
Neck stiffness due to inflammation of the spinal cord, heart palpitations and dizziness are also potential symptoms. Lyme disease during pregnancy can lead to infection of the placenta. Treatment is simple - antibiotics in the early stages generally do the trick.
When you see a tick, remove it immediately by grasping firmly - with a tweezers if possible. Do not twist. That's just an old wives tale. Pull the tick straight out and immediately clean the area with soap and water or alcohol.
The common dog tick does not spread Lyme disease but-why take any chances? Many varieties of ticks carry all sorts of other diseases. It's best to assume the worst and clean the area well. Then do a thorough inventory of the rest of your body. These little vermin like to find dark places to hide and feed such as the groin, armpit, scalp, ears and other hard to see locations.
The Lyme disease vaccine was discontinued in 2002 due to lack of consumer demand. The protection diminishes over time so those who were once vaccinated are no longer protected.
The best defense is a good offense. Douse yourself with repellent whenever you are outside and reapply according to product directions. Cats and dogs make great transport systems. Make sure they don't invite the creepy creatures into your home by applying a good quality (this is no time to try and save a few pennies) tick and flea repellent.
And if you don't want to take the time to do all this, just move to Hawaii.
Source: Centers for Disease_Control and Prevention