Tick season brings additional Lyme disease concerns amid COVID-19 pandemic


INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers always watch out for ticks this time of year because of concerns of Lyme disease.

But experts say this year ticks are even more of a threat because of COVID-19.

“The immune system gets very busy at attacking the Lyme disease, so then it gets more vulnerable to the opportunity of other pathogens,” said Dr. Max Moreno, a professor at Indiana University’s Fairbanks School of Public Health. “In that case, they may get more vulnerable to COVID.”

Dr. Moreno said, if you’ve had COVID-19, the effects of Lyme disease, which often affects nervous system tissues, could be more severe. And if you suffer from Lyme disease, COVID-19 symptoms could be worse. This is because each can weaken the immune system on its own making a person more vulnerable to the other.

“If you get a disease, you get weak, and then you can get infected by a second, you can get even weaker,” said Dr. Moreno. “So, yes, your chances of getting worse in both increases if you have two diseases.”

If you find a tick attached to your skin, Dr. Moreno advises to put rubbing alcohol on it as soon as possible to kill the tick, and then remove it. If alcohol is not available, try to remove the tick carefully without squishing it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists typical symptoms of Lyme disease as a fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash in the area where the bite occurred.

Click here for information from the CDC on how to prevent tick bites on people.

Click here for information from the CDC on how to prevent ticks on pets.

Click here for information from the CDC on how to prevent ticks in yards.

Click here for information from the CDC on signs and symptoms of untreated Lyme disease.

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