As we spend more time outdoors this spring and summer, the threat of Lyme disease becomes a greater risk. The culprit? Ticks are tiny blood-sucking creatures that are responsible for carrying and spreading the disease. If you've been bitten by a tick, you need to watch out for the following symptoms.

The CDC reports that early symptoms of Lyme Disease include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash. In the coming days and weeks, developing symptoms can include headaches and neck stiffness, facial palsy, heart palpitations, and even inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The best way to prevent Lyme Disease is to not get bit by ticks in the first place!

The CDC says the key to preventing tick bites is understanding where they live. They are found in grassy, bushy, or wooded areas. You can even find them in your own backyard. Avoid wooded areas that don't use trails and cover yourself and your clothing in tick repellants before heading out. Avoiding ticks and Lyme Disease also depends on where you live in Iowa too. The website Tick Check shows which Iowa counties are most likely to have ticks that carry the disease.

Tick Check
Tick Check
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Unfortunately for outdoor enthusiasts, Eastern Iowa features several counties that feature high rates of Lyme Disease exposure from ticks. Linn, Johnson, and Iowa counties are among the highest in the state when it comes to confirmed cases of Lyme Disease. And as Tick Check points out, these are just the confirmed cases of the illness. While over 3,744 cases have been confirmed by the CDC, they claim the actual number of cases in Iowa is probably over 37,000. Something to remember the next time you head for the great outdoors!

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