(MERIDIAN) Spring has sprung and summer is just hours away. Along with warmer weather and longer days comes the risk associated with bugs. While mosquitoes are generally the nasty critter that gets under most people’s skin, an even tinier insect can take a bite out of your summer plans—that insect is a tick!
Students in the medical assisting program at Broadview University-Boise recently hit the streets in an effort to spread the word about ticks and the dangerous disease they carry called Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that gets transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Different ticks spread the disease in different areas of the country. Here in the Northwest, the western black-legged tick is the culprit. Between 3 and 30 days after a bite, people often complain about being tired, having chills, fever, and headache, and body aches. The majority of those infected (up to 80 percent) develop what is called a “bull’s eye rash” that can grow up to 12 inches across.
As part of a service learning project for instructor Julie Quinn’s Microbiology class, the students—armed with brochures they made to hand out—set up a table inside of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Meridian. For three hours, they made sure everyone who passed the table received a quick “did-you-know” about Lyme disease.
“I was really surprised to know how many people came by saying they knew someone who has had it,” Kathy Ingraham, a medical assisting program student, said. “One guy even said he had it a long time ago himself but couldn’t convince his doctor that he had it.”
For Yeraldin Garcia, the project was an all-new experience. “I learned so much I never knew (about Lyme disease) after watching a documentary and creating this brochure,” she says. “I discovered it can be a lifelong disease.” During the project, Garcia also had the opportunity to use her bilingual language skills to translate information for Spanish-speaking customers.
It’s important to keep in mind that only two percent of tick bites actually result in Lyme disease. And while men and women of all ages are susceptible, the disease is most common among boys ages 5 to 19 and adults 30 and older. To learn more, click here for a link to the student’s brochure