Lyme disease is not a pleasant infection. It is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans by ticks; tiny arachnids that are usually located in woodland. They feed on the blood of mammals and unfortunately for us, that means humans and our dogs. Although humans may feel a tick bite straight away, it is not uncommon for a tick to go unnoticed and feed for a number of days prior to dropping off. The longer a tick continues to feed on a host, the greater the risk of contracting Lyme disease. Once infected, Lyme disease can affect your skin, joints, heart and nervous system. Symptoms of Lyme disease vary and early symptoms usually occur 3 to 30 days after someone is bitten. One of the most frequently observed early symptoms is a pink or red spherical rash, resembling a dart board bull’s-eye. In addition, other symptoms include flu like symptoms accompanied with headaches, muscle or joint pain and fatigue. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to muscle pain, joint pain, joint inflammation and neurological symptoms like for example, numbing of the facial muscles.
Lyme disease can be notoriously difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are similar to many other conditions. If your doctor suspects Lyme disease, she is likely request blood tests to confirm the diagnosis. Lyme disease is more often than not treated with antibiotics; dosage and length of course will depend on the stage of your Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the single most widespread tick-borne infectious illnesses in North America and Europe. Individuals who spend a lot of time in woodland and grassland areas are most vulnerable to infection as this is where other tick carrying mammals reside. The majority of tick bites happen in late spring, early summer and autumn as this is when people are most active in the infectious catchment areas.
How do you prevent contracting Lyme disease?
No vaccine currently exists for Lyme disease so prevention is the only way to stop infection. To prevent tick bites occurring you can take precautions if you are venturing into wooded areas and grassland. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and tuck your trousers into your socks. Purchase a good insect repellent and ensure to regularly check yourself and each other for ticks. If you have a dog, ensure that you regularly check your dog for ticks and make sure they are adequately treated with flea and tick products. In the event that your discover a tick on yourself, a family member or a pet; remove it not by heat but by using a small pair of tweezers, gripping it as close to the skin as possible and gently pulling away from the skin.