WESTON, W.Va. — Living in West Virginia provides beautiful views and visits to the great outdoors in a matter of minutes. However, it is important to take the proper precautions when spending time outdoors.
Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital suggests that residents should be aware of the possibility of encountering deer ticks, which can cause Lyme disease.
According to the W.Va. Department of Health and Human Services, “Symptoms generally begin three to 30 days after the tick bite and include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain and swollen lymph nodes. In up to 80% of Lyme infections, a rash is one of the first symptoms, commonly referred to as a ‘bull’s eye’.”
If left untreated, the disease can cause life-long issues.
The SJMH Laboratory provides direct access testing for Lyme disease, allowing patients to be tested without an order from a healthcare provider.
SJMH Lab Director, Angela Cedeno, noted, “We are currently in the months with the highest numbers of new onset of Lyme disease in the area. We want to inform the public of our same day testing option. We perform both IgG and IgM, which differentiates between current and past infections, for only $30 which can provide comfort for concerned patients.”
Exposure to ticks can be avoided by wearing insect repellent, long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Individuals should be thoroughly checked for ticks after spending time outdoors focusing on areas including the neck, hair, back of the legs and back. Pets should also be checked for ticks after spending time outside.
In July 2019, there were 288 reported Lyme disease cases in West Virginia. In 2020 there have only been a handful of cases in the region. However, when Lyme disease goes undetected the long-term effects can be devastating. Early detection through laboratory testing can be critical when Lyme disease cannot be prevented.