Lyme Disease is everywhere! Many think it is exclusive to certain areas but it is classified as a epidemic or potentially epidemic in 63 Countries within 6 continents! Unless you live or are planning to move ot Antarctica, Lyme disease is a real threat to the remaining inhabitants of the other 6 continents. Lyme disease is spread through the bite of the Black-Legged Tick or more commononly known as the Deer Tick. Ticks live in environments with tall grass and on shrubs or branches in wooded areas. They like to attach and feed on the blood of both people and animals, such as your dog. Some of the most common early on symptoms include fever, aches, and skin rashes. Though it can be treated with antibiotics it can be a serious health problem if left untreated and there is no vaccine, the best way to prevent Lyme diease is the prevent the tick bite!
Lyme disease comes from bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted through a bite of the infected tick. Once you are bitten by one of these ticks the symptoms are usually headache, fatigue, fever and a skin rash. If it goes untreated the infection can spread to your joints, the nervous system, and even the heart. The early signs of Lyme disease are skin rashes known as Erythema migrans, fatigue, chills, headaches, muscle pain, and swollen lymph nodes. Some ticks are so small, some the size of a poppy seed, it can be difficult to spot them. Lyme disease symptoms may not be noticeable for days or even weeks after being bitten. One of the common symptoms of a tick bite is a reddish circle (bull's eye rash) where the center of the circle is a normal skin color.
How Can you Prevent Lyme Disease?
- Use Insect Repellent and Wear Clothing Treated with Insect Repellent
Use insect topical repellents that include picaridin, IR3535, DEET, para-methane-diol, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or 2-undecanone. Buy clothing and gear treated with permethrin such as NoBu.gs® Insect Repellent Clothing.
- Lessen Tick Environments
During the warmer months (Spring and Summer), are usually the times when we become more prone to getting Lyme disease. Keep brush cleared away from your home and keep your grass trimmed.
- Remove Ticks as Fast as Possible
Lyme disease is spread through tick bites. These ticks can be found in wooded areas and have complicated life phases. There are some regions where black-legged ticks can spread other diseases including babesiosis and anaplasmosis. Usually ticks need to remain attached for 36-48 hours before they can infect you with Lyme disease.
- Do Daily Tick Checks
You should always check for ticks after being outdoors. Ticks will usually attach for at least a day before transmitting the bacteria causing Lyme disease. If you find tick, you should remove them with tweezers. Do not crush the body of the tick, use petroleum jelly, nail polish, matches, or any other products. Instead grab the tick tightly as close to the skin as possible and then pull the tick away from the skin. Clean the area with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
There are several antibiotics that are given by mouth to treat Lyme disease that include Amoxicillin, Cefuroxime, and Doxycycline. Patients who are treated early on can recover rapidly as well as patients who are treated in later stages. If you develop any signs of a tick bite that are worrying, best to check with a doctor, better to be safe than sorry!