Happy Labor Day. I hope you’re getting some R&R today with those you love.
Now, summer may be winding to a close, but don't pack away your bug spray just yet.
Not only are warm-weather pests like ticks still out in droves… but since this has been one of the hottest years on record, they're likely to STAY out for longer than usual.
Even as temps cool off, ticks can survive pretty much ANY time of year that the ground isn't frozen solid .
And these little buggers carry Lyme disease, which – if it’s transmitted to you via a tick bite -- can wreak havoc on your heart, brain, joints, and digestive tract.
It can even mimic diseases like MS and Alzheimer's!
And according to a new report, Lyme isn't just a concern if you live in certain areas, like New England – because for the first time, Lyme as been detected in ALL 50 states!
Quest Diagnostics researchers tracked Lyme cases across the U.S. from 2010 to 2017 and found that while the Northeast still had the highest number of infections, Lyme infections jumped by 11 percent from coast to coast.
In fact, the rates of the disease SOARED in Florida and California.
From 2015 to 2017, the number of infected patients increased by 77 percent in the Sunshine State... and by an eye-popping 195 percent in the Golden State!
And the states that neighbor them -- including Arizona and Georgia -- saw notable increases in Lyme, too.
Texas and Tennessee... as well as Ohio and Virginia... also saw unusual spikes in Lyme.
The theory is that changing climate conditions are allowing ticks to gain ground in places where they previously couldn't survive.
But even in states where these pests have had a stronghold for decades, there's been a significant "uptick" in Lyme cases.
Right here in the Northeast, Lyme cases rose 50 percent from 2015 to 2017. And in Pennsylvania alone -- which had the most Lyme cases of ANY state -- infections rose by a whopping 78 percent.
What's more, researchers have also discovered that a NEW tick species has arrived in the U.S. for the first time in 50 years.
It's called the Asian long-horned tick -- and it's been found in seven states on the Eastern Seaboard.
So far, this tick isn't carrying Lyme or any other human diseases, but in Asia, it carries a virus that kills 15 percent of its victims.
Translation: Even as summer winds DOWN, you want to ramp UP your defenses against ticks!
WHENEVER and WHEREVER you’re headed outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into your socks as a first line of protection.
But since ticks can outsmart clothing, it’s also a good idea to spray your clothes with natural scents that tick them off -- like essential oils of lavender and citronella.
If you dare to bare any skin, though, be sure to use a stronger insecticide like DEET to keep these bugs at bay.