Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.

Looking at a map of where the most cases of Lyme Disease are, you would be astounded by how the Northeast is overwhelming infiltrated with this debilitating bacterial virus.

According to bestvalueschools.org, there's an increase in tick bites across the country, therefore a significant increase in tick-borne illnesses.  The worst states are in the Northeast, but Lyme Disease has now spread to every state.

Erik Karits via Unsplash.com
Erik Karits via Unsplash.com
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The website also says that the reason for the increase in cases is because "warmer, shorter winters from climate change have played a role in increases in tick-borne illnesses".

How Does New Hampshire Rate in Cases?

The CDC says Pennsylvania has the highest number of reported cases.  However, Maine has the second most reported cases, with Vermont right behind.

New Hampshire is expecting case increases by 106%.  That's a hefty increase.

Lyme Disease starts in March and continues through September, although over 50% of cases are reported in June and July.  The season is well on its way, so here's a link to "Beware of Tick Season in New England: Tricks to Avoid Lyme Disease" to give you plenty of in-depth tips on avoiding ticks on you, your family, and your pets.

College Students Be Aware

Another concern is for college students, especially in New England states, where ticks and Lyme Disease are prevalent. Students will lie on grass, hammocks, or fields as they hang out with friends, and not think anything of it.  However, they should always do a tick check after.

Emily Camp via Unsplash.com
Emily Camp via Unsplash.com
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If ticks are attached to your skin for more than 36 hours, they're more likely to transmit the disease, which is why it's so important to do a tick check.  Also, not all ticks carry the virus that causes Lyme Disease. Saving the tick for testing after you remove it is very important.

Signs of Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

In the first 30 days, if you have Lyme Disease, possible symptoms include fever, chills, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, rash, and headache.  You may or may not see the bullseye rash associated with Lyme Disease.

Erik Karits via Unsplash.com
Erik Karits via Unsplash.com
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Lyme Disease blood tests are only 29-40% accurate in the first three weeks of infections. The CDC also says that tests are not likely to be positive for up to 4-6 weeks after infection, so it can be misdiagnosed.  Often the medical provider will prescribe an antibiotic as a preventative if Lyme Disease is suspected.  It's a tricky disease, and can be very painful.

My own bout with Lyme Disease was very painful in my joints, after being undetected for weeks.  Avoid the misery by taking the right precautions regularly and doing daily tick checks.

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