On a gorgeous summer morning, Charlotte Hilton Andersen headed out for her usual 5-mile loop around the lake. "I thought it would be so nice to be in the sunshine, running through the tall grass, like a model in an exercise apparel catalog," the Minneapolis native recalls. But afterwards, as she began to shave in the shower, Andersen was horrified to find six ticks embedded in her calves and ankles. Engorged to the size of pencil erasers with her blood, the ticks concerned Andersen enough to send her to the doctor, where she expressed concern over Lyme Disease.
An inflammatory disease spread through tick bites, Lyme presents as flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, headache, fatigue, muscle pain) and may have a "bulls-eye" rash. Diagnosed early, it can be cured with antibiotics, but without treatment, complications involving the joints, heart, and nervous system may occur. Fortunately, Andersen was safe: Her doctor said ticks typically need to be attached for 36 hours to transmit infection. Plus, the size of her buggers indicated they were non-Lyme-carrying dog ticks. Still, the mom of four sprays her entire family—herself included—with DEET-containing bug spray before going out, and she no longer frolics through tall grass. "I stay on the trail and if I see one little weed, I'll jump over it," she says.
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