Keep this in mind the next time you go for a hike in a wooded or grassy area: Tiny critters called deer ticks often carry Lyme-disease-causing bacteria, which is spread by their bite. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month — and recent Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates suggest Lyme disease, once thought of as fairly rare, is actually 10 times as common as we previously thought and infects roughly 300,000 Americans annually.
So long as it’s treated quickly and properly, Lyme disease isn’t too serious of a health issue. Untreated, however, Lyme can result in severe problems like meningitis or even partial paralysis, and the symptoms may not show up until a week or even years after a bite.
More from Erin Brodwin:
- How to know whether you have Lyme disease
- Sales of test kits skyrocketed after Charlie Sheen confirmed he was HIV-positive
- The Times Square driver was reportedly high on synthetic marijuana — here’s what it is
- A Harvard researcher says these 3 supplements are ‘the most lawless’ of the industry
- Scientists have discovered 5 personality traits linked with a long life
NOW WATCH: An infectious disease specialist told us the best ways to protect yourself from the untreatable Zika virus
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.