It’s that time of year again: The weather is warming up, people are spending more time in the great outdoors, and that means they need to be on their guard against parasitic insects that can spread disease.
The Centers for Disease Control tried to get this message out through social media on Wednesday, but did so in a way that might just ruin your enjoyment of a popular breakfast pastry.
A Facebook post from the federal agency informs followers that “Ticks can be as small as a poppy seed,” before challenging them to find the five ticks that are supposedly sitting on top of a poppyseed muffin in a picture below.
“That’s me done eating poppy seeds,” one commenter said.
“My love for lemon poppy seed muffins has suddenly vanished,” another wrote. “Thanks, CDC.”
The post also contained a truncated link to more CDC information about preventing tick bites and tickborne maladies like Lyme disease.
While questionable and cringeworthy social media strategies from government agencies are ripe for mockery, Lyme disease is no laughing matter. If left untreated for too long, the bacterial infection spread by tick bites can cause heart and neurological problems, even years after infection.
Furthermore, one in 10 cases continue to experience symptoms long after being treated for the disease. Doctors aren’t certain as to what causes post-treatment Lyme disease, and they’re not sure why cases are on the rise, either.
So, it’s best to err on the safe side of things and follow CDC prevention guidelines: Wear insect repellent, try to avoid brushy areas where ticks can get on you and your gear, and hike in the center of trails.
When coming back in from the outdoors, look over your pets and your gear, shower, and thoroughly check yourself for tick bites, the agency also recommends.