Lyme disease is actually an infection that is brought about by a bacterium from the Borrelia family. Lyme disease is known to be transmitted via an infected black-legged tick’s bite. It has been found out that the tick got infected after it fed on an infected mouse or deer. It is essential for the tick to be present for at least 24 hours to 48 hours on your skin to successfully transmit the infection. Most Lyme disease patients do not even remember that they have been bitten by a tick.
As per the reports and statistics presented to us by the CDC or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Lyme disease is supposed to be the most common tick bite related disease prevalent in countries belonging to the northern hemisphere. In the USA, approximately 300,000 individuals are down with Lyme disease while there are around 65,000 affected cases in Europe. In this context, you must know that this disease is pretty common in heavily wooded or grassy areas as compared to the flat plains.
Signs & Symptoms of Lyme disease
The precise signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary and manifest in three distinct phases- a) Early Localized b) Early Disseminated and c) Late Disseminated.
Stage One: Early Localized
In this stage, symptoms would be appearing and restricted to a localized area after around one or two weeks post the tick bite. You could experience a typical “bull’s eye” rash that is an indication that the bacteria are actually multiplying in your bloodstream. You would come across an erythema migrans rash at the tick bite site. This rash does not cause any itching and you would not experience any pain either. Find out what is ELISA and go through the test for early detection, when you see the very first symptoms of stage one.
Stage Two: Early Disseminated
Several weeks may pass post the tick bite when you would see rashes appearing on other parts of your body apart from the tick bite site. You would be experiencing flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, sore throat, muscle pain, fatigue, and even a headache. You may notice changes in vision or enlarged lymph nodes. You may notice neurological signs such as facial droopiness, tingling, and numbness.
Stage Three: Late Disseminated
If proper treatment is not done, Lyme disease would be entering into the third or the last stage. This stage number three would be characterized by severe headaches, numbness, joint pain, heart rhythm disturbances, and mental fogginess, short-term loss of memory, sleep issues, and mood swings.
Some Tips for Prevention of Lyme disease
- Wear shirts with long sleeves and full pants if you are going for hiking in wooded or grassy areas.
- Go for routine check-ups if you are experiencing some common Lyme disease symptoms, particularly if you tend to be in high-risk areas.
- When you come across a feeding tick, remove it safely as that would reduce infection risk.
- Examine the hairy and exposed parts of your body if you indulge in camping trips.
- Avoid grassy areas or heavily wooded places and cut the grass in your garden regularly and keep the hedges neat and well-trimmed.
- Wear insect repellent while in high-risk areas.
- Keep your yard free from long grasses, piles of dry dead leaves, wood piles and bushes, all potential tick habitats.
- Get your pets routinely checked by a veterinarian to ensure that they are tick-free.
Lyme disease could be avoided by careful scrutiny and by following all the preventive tips discussed above. When in doubt, get the proper tests done. If Lyme disease is detected get a proper treatment done by specialists.