Experts warn Lyme disease risk is high with warmer weather

Published: Mar. 30, 2018 at 10:15 PM CDT
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With the warmer weather moving in, it's not just people who enjoy it. Insects like ticks also like to come out in the heat. If bitten by a tick, you could be at risk for Lyme disease.

"Ticks in Texas start coming out this time of year and in the summer through the fall," said Maria Esteve-Gassent.

Experts say while you're out doing Easter egg hunts or taking pictures in the bluebonnets with your family to make sure you're extra cautious and cover up to avoid tick bites.

"Wear long sleeves and long pants. I know it's hot but it's the best way to protect yourself from any ticks crawling on you. I truly recommend using some kind of insect repellent when you're outdoors," said Esteve-Gassent.

Esteve-Gassent said if you believe that you have been bit, to go see a doctor.

Emily Hopkins has been facing the disease since she was a teenager.

"I don't know how I got it. I don't remember getting a tick bite, but pretty much I always felt like I was the sickly kid out of my siblings," said Emily Hopkins. "It was one thing after the other. It was like migraines every day, and then my spine was killing me all the time. Three months before my wedding, which was in 2015, I was diagnosed with Lyme," said Hopkins.

Emily has tried many antibiotics and treatments, but said since hers wasn't caught early, she still deals with the disease in her day-to-day life.

"I'm by no means better. It's still very much a journey and there's just days that I'm in bed constantly. But one thing is if you get a tick bite you should send it in somewhere and have it tested, where you know immediately whether or not you were exposed to Lyme," said Hopkins.

Esteve-Gassent said you can bring a tick that bit you to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Lab or send it to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

"Don’t flush the ticks. If ticks were attached to you – there’s places in the state of Texas that can test those ticks for any kind of pathogen," said Esteve-Gassent.