With the recent rains insects are sure to become more active. That includes ticks. Ticks aren't just ugly pests that bother your pets, they too can cause problems for humans. They carry diseases like Lyme Disease. I know a little about this as my boyfriend has had it.There are ways to protect yourself though.

My boyfriend was diagnosed back in 1991 when little was known about the disease. He had been out turkey hunting when he picked up the tick. When he got back to camp the tick was removed and nothing more was thought about it until about 3 weeks later when he had a huge circle on his calf where the tick had been. It looked much like a 'bullseye' that was purple on the outside, red toward the middle and then white in the center.

He was treated with antibiotics, which is still the course of treatment. Symptoms of the disease can also mimic those of a cold or flu, fever, headache and fatigue. If left untreated it can lead to damage of the central nervous system and joints.

From what I've read the symptoms, when treated early, usually subside within a few weeks to months. However, my boyfriend still experiences some joint pain and night sweats.

Ticks are most active during warm months, usually April-September. You can protect yourself by using a repellent containing at least 20% DEET, avoid wooded or bushy areas, conduct a full body check and shower as soon as possible after being outdoors. Remove any tick you may find as quickly as possible using tweezers; not heat, nail polish or petroleum jelly.  You can also remove ticks from clothing by placing them in a dryer on high heat for at least an hour.

While contracting lyme disease in not the best news it is completely treatable with antibiotics in the early stages and through intravenous treatment in it's later stages. Some symptoms may linger, as my boyfriend can attest, but generally recuperation is within 2-4 weeks of treatment.

Just remember to be proactive when spending time outdoors and use repellant with DEET to help protect yourself. For more information on lyme disease check the CDC website.