Greensboro, NC -- Last year North Carolina reported 127 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease. And Guilford County was one of three counties in the state where two or more cases of Lyme disease were confirmed. What's more, they confirmed the people picked up the infection in Guilford County.
Lyme disease can be painful. We're talking fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash. Infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. But this year the antibiotics have been in short supply.
The antibiotic to treat Lyme disease is called doxycycline. It's been on the federal government's national drug shortage list since January because of manufacturing delays and rising demand. We checked here and a representative from Cone Health said their patients have been able to get the drugs they need for treatment, but the nationwide shortage means the drug is more expensive.
How much more expensive? One agency reported a price increase from $0.08 per pill to more than$3.00 for the same drug! That's more than a 3000% increase.
You don't want Lyme disease--period-- much less having to deal with an expensive drug. So the keyword is prevention. Ticks are in those wooded, brushy, grassy areas where we hike, ride bikes, picnic and camp. Use deet-based repellent on your clothes and skin to reduce the risk of picking up a tick. And check for ticks as soon as you come inside.
If you do find a tick - follow these simple steps from the CDC for removing it:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.