Do you have a rash on your body caused by a tick bite? Are you feeling headache, fever, muscle/joint aches, or fatigue? Is it taking you longer than a few weeks after treatment? Then you're suffering from Lyme Disease. Of course, you got it through infected ticks. How did you get it..?
You might have visited a place inhabiting ticks
Might be you have domestic animals at home
You might be living in wooded areas
Having any of the above situations or any other related event increases the chance of Lyme sickness. Don't know about this..?
Read this article till the end and you'll know its causes, symptoms, stages, prevention, and lastly treatment.
What is Lyme Disease..?
Lyme Disease or Lyme borreliosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. It is one of the most widely spread bacterial diseases in the United States and Canada. Lyme disease affects almost half a million people every year in America alone. International Lyme Disease month is observed every May in the above countries. If you're an activist or educator then you can arrange an informative seminar or a Lymewalk to raise awareness among people.
The disease is transmitted to humans by infected ticks. These contaminated ticks have the bacterium causing the illness. This bacteria is the origin of Lyme disease in humans. In 70 to 80 percent of infected people, a red rash appears. There are symptoms like fever, headache, joint pains, etc. These symptoms come to the surface in 7 to 14 days after the tick bite. Following a suitable treatment, 1-2 patients out of 10 may have joint pains, fatigue, and memory loss for a few months.
What is causing Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease transmitted through ticks. The infected black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis) transmits the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi into the human blood. Due to their small size, many people cannot see ticks and cannot even detect their bite. Ticks have to be attached for 36 to 48 hours to complete the transmission of bacteria but some ticks have the ability to do it faster.
If you have pets at home or live in a wooded area, you have a higher chance of having the disease. Always protect yourself and your domestic animals from ticks. You can use tick control products or any other insect repellent chemicals. Though a person cannot convey the disease to other persons through physical interactions. But due to the presence of antibodies in the blood, infected people can convey the bacterium to healthy people. So they should not donate blood till the treatment completion. Scientists haven't found any evidence that Lyme disease can be carried by flies, mosquitoes, air, or water.
Did you notice the following symptoms?
Depending on the stage of infection, untreated Lyme disease can cause many symptoms: rash, fever, facial paralysis, and arthritis.
A red rash also known as erythema migrans appears at the body part where the tick bites. This rash also looks like a "bull's eye". The rash appears in 70 to 80 percent of victims within 7 days after the bite. The rash size increases gradually and feels warm but not often painful.
Following signs might appear after 4 weeks of the tick bite.
Other parts of the body may have rashes.
Facial paralysis: inability to move muscles of the face, may show up.
Swelling and joint pain especially in the knees can also be the symptoms of arthritis.
Choking in-breath and dizziness
Hands and feet shooting pain, tingling, and numbness
The brain and spinal cord are inflamed.
How can Lyme disease be diagnosed?
Your doctor can make a diagnosis based on your symptoms as well as whether or not you've been bitten by a tick. A blood test may also be performed. Some physicians ask to take two blood tests to confirm the illness. As antibodies take a few weeks to appear, the test may be negative in the initial few weeks after the infection.
What are the stages of Lyme Disease?
There are three steps of the disease.
Early localized Lyme: Fever, chills, headache, enlarged lymph nodes, sore throat, rash looking like bull's eye or round, red, and of 2-inch size are all the indications of early localized Lyme disease.
Early disseminated Lyme: At this stage, symptoms include discomfort, weakness, or numbness in the arms and legs. Sometimes visual abnormalities, heart-pounding, chest pain, and facial paralysis.
Late disseminated Lyme: This stage may develop in weeks, months, or even years after a tick bite. Arthritis, extreme weariness, headaches, difficulty in sleeping, dizziness, and confusion are some symptoms.
What to do in preventing the disease?
If you are mostly around the ticks then what to do to prevent Lyme Disease? It's simple: avoid tick bites.
Lyme disease can be prevented by avoiding tick bites. One can do so by limiting time spent in tick-infested areas and taking precautionary measures. Between April and September (hot months) Ixodes bites cause the majority of Lyme illnesses. Ticks like wet, shaded environments such as woods, bushes, and long grasses. Playing in the yard, brush cleaning, gardening, and allowing dogs and cats to wander about the grassy or wooded areas, are the activities linked to the tick bites.
To be safe, soaking and spraying shoes, clothes, tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks with 0.5 % permethrin solution is recommended. Permethrin is toxic for ticks but safe and odorless for humans. Be cautious while using the chemical because it cannot be used on human skin and on pets. By wearing light-colored clothes you can detect ticks before the bites. Animals should not be permitted to roam about freely in tick-infested locations. Ticks should be examined on clothing and pets after returning indoors.
What should be the treatment?
If you're facing Lyme disease at an early stage it's the best time to cure it. Early Lyme disease diagnosis and antibiotic therapy are critical in late Lyme illness. Physicians prescribe antibiotics for 1 to 3 weeks if you have early-stage Lyme disease. Amoxicillin, cefuroxime, and doxycycline are the most frequent antibiotics. Antibiotics are effective in curing the infection but if they don't work then you'll receive other antibiotics by mouth or by injection.
Weakening facial muscles and irregular heartbeats may require oral medications. If you have serious cardiac issues, and inflammation in the brain and spinal cord then again you need antibiotics. Your doctor might prescribe other medicines if your illness is in late-stage. You'll be required to get arthritis treatment if it causes it.
Please keep in mind that all the medications here are not endorsed but you must consult your physician before taking any medical tests and medicines.
Even after Lyme disease therapy, some patients continue to experience fatigue, discomfort, exhaustion, and difficulty in thinking. The current state of science on persistent Lyme disease symptoms is limited, developing, and unresolved.