The sun is shining and the birds are chirping – it is nearly the perfect time of year to hit the trails or set up a campsite. While you’re enjoying the fresh air and cool breeze, it’s important to remember a few things: Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and protect yourself from ticks and other insects.

Ticks can carry Lyme disease. You may become infected with the disease if you are bitten by black-legged ticks. Hallmark symptoms of Lyme disease in the acute stage include a “bullseye” rash, (erythema migrans), fever, chills, fatigue, and muscle and joint aches. Without treatment, Lyme disease can progress to include neurological, heart, and joint problems.

Lyme disease has become controversial in recent years – not because Lyme disease doesn’t exist (it does), or that it can’t cause long-term issues, (it can) but because predatory actors may promote unproven diagnostic testing or treatments. We help you parse out fact from fiction.

Why do so many Americans have Lyme disease?

You are at risk for tick bites when you hike or camp in heavily wooded areas. In the United States, there are cases reported in every state, however, it is most common in midwestern, northeastern, and mid-Atlantic states. According to the CDC, cases reported outside of these regions are likely due to being infected in another state, and then traveling somewhere else.

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