How to Prevent Lyme Disease: A Guide on Symptoms and Treatment Options
How to prevent Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that can be transmitted to people after being bit by an infected deer tick or black-legged tick. The disease is caused by the bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. B. burgdorferi. A tick can first become infected with the bacteria after biting an infected mouse, bird, or deer.
In order for the tick to transmit Lyme disease, it has to be on the skin for at least 36 hours. Most people who get Lyme disease don’t remember ever being bitten by a tick. This is why it’s so important to prevent Lyme disease in the first place.
Lym disease was first recognized in 1975 in the village of Old Lyme, Connecticut. It’s becoming increasingly common in the United States as well as Europe.
You’re more likely to contract the illness if you spend a lot of time in areas that are known for the transmission of Lyme disease. People who own domesticated animals that spend time in wooded locations also have a higher risk of getting the disease.
Now that we know some background for Lyme disease, let’s look at its symptoms and how you can prevent getting it.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Each person is going to react differently to Lyme disease. With that said, there are some common symptoms that many infected people share. Let’s take a look at some of the most common symptoms below.
One of the most well-known symptoms of Lyme disease is a rash that looks like either a bull’s eye or a red oval. This can show up anywhere on your body.
The bull’s eye rash is going to have a red spot in the center. The spot will be surrounded by a clear circle and then a wider red circle outside of that.
This rash is flash and typically does not itch. This rash signals that the infection is currently spreading throughout the tissues of the skin. Whether or not you’re treated, the rash will expand and then go away over time.
A good portion of people with Lyme disease don’t remember ever having a rash.
And even fewer people will remember having a tick on their bodies. During the nymph stage, a tick is going to be no bigger than a poppy seed.
After a person is bitten, the red rash should appear within a few days to a few weeks. If you do have a rash, you should take a photo of it and then see your doctor right away.
Even if you don’t notice the rash or tick bite, you’re likely to experience flu-like symptoms early on. These symptoms tend to be cyclical and change in strength every couple of weeks.
You’re likely to feel exhausted, tired, and have a lack of energy. Fatigue from Lyme disease is going to feel different than when you’re tired after performing physical activity. The fatigue can take over your whole body.
You may find yourself sleeping longer or napping more. Sometimes, fatigue from Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed as depression, fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Swollen, Stiff, or Achy Joints
Some other early symptoms of Lyme disease are joint stiffness and pain. A person’s joints may be swollen, warm to the touch, inflamed, and painful. You also might experience a limited range of motion.
The pain can also move around. One day, your knee may hurt. Another day, your heels or neck can hurt.
Various joints can be affected at the same time. Many people will attribute these pains to sports, genetics, or age. However, untreated Lyme disease can lead to episodes of arthritis.
Fever, Dizziness, and Headaches
Some more common flu-like symptoms caused by Lyme disease are malaise, fever, headaches, muscle pain, and dizziness. Many people will experience these types of symptoms within a week after being infected by the tick.
Your symptoms may not be severe at first and so you might not think of Lyme disease as their cause. In fact, many people will simply get a low-grade fever.
It can often be difficult to distinguish Lyme disease symptoms from a viral infection or the common flu. However, unlike viral flu, Lyme disease symptoms tend to come and go.
Neck pains and sore throats are also common symptoms.
Lyme disease can, unfortunately, affect your brain function. You may find yourself having trouble concentrating at work or in school. You can also experience lapses in memory.
It can also seem like it takes longer for you to process information. And you might forget how you got somewhere when taking public transit or driving a car.
A lot of people will attribute this to getting older but it could actually be a symptom of Lyme disease.
How to Prevent Lyme Disease
If you play, work, hike, or camp outside, especially in wooded areas, then you could be at risk for being bitten by an infected tick. By employing good tick bite prevention methods, you will be more likely to prevent Lyme disease infection.
The best way to prevent getting Lyme Disease is to avoid going where ticks are known to live. Ticks thrive in stone walls, beach grass, leaf litter, woodpiles, bushy areas, and long grass. They also live where a person’s lawn meets the woods.
You may want to have your home’s exterior treated. You can even use eco-friendly treatments.
Also, make sure that you wear light-colored clothing. This is going to make it a lot easier to spot a tick on your clothes. When in the woods, you should wear a long-sleeved shirt that’s tucked into your waistband.
Also, wear long pants that you tuck into high socks. You should also wear a hat with your hair tucked in and closed-toe shoes. The less skin you can expose the better. Never walk in the grass barefoot.
Applying insecticides and tick repellents, like DEET, to your clothes and skin is also helpful. And after you get home, you should take off your clothes and put them in the dryer. Set the dryer at a high temperature for at least ten minutes in order to kill any lingering ticks.
You also want to examine yourself and your pets for any ticks. Feel around for bumps. And pay close attention to your scalp, in and behind your ears, groin, belly button, armpits, and behind the knees.
Bathe or shower to remove any attached ticks. And if you find a tick on your body, get rid of it immediately. The longer the tick is on you, the more likely it will infect you.
How to Remove a Tick
Don’t panic if you find a tick on your skin. Remain calm and remove it promptly. Get either fine-pointed tweezers or specialized tweezers for tick removal.
By getting the tick off your body, you can reduce your chances of getting infected. However, you don’t want to hurt the tick because it is feeding on you and salivating. If you burn the tick, it will salivate even more and can transmit harmful pathogens.
The safe way to remove a tick is to get your tweezers and go as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out, with even pressure throughout. Don’t squeeze the tick.
Put the tick in a plastic, sealed bag and then wash your hands with soap and water. Bring the live tick with you to the doctor for testing.
How to Treat Lyme Disease
You’re most likely to cure Lyme disease if you treat it in its early stages. For localized disease treatment, you will go through a simple two-week course of oral antibiotics in order to get rid of the infection.
Medications for Lyme disease can include amoxicillin and cefuroxime. These are often used for women who are breastfeeding or nursing. Other adults and children will be treated with cefuroxime, amoxicillin, or doxycycline.
For people whose central nervous system or heart has been affected by Lyme disease, they may undergo intravenous antibiotics. After a patient improves, they will usually a two to a four-week oral regimen.
The Importance of Knowing How to Prevent Lyme Disease
By knowing how to prevent Lyme disease, as well as what the symptoms and treatment options are, you can be more prepared to stop it at any stage. More than anything, it’s important to know what to look for and catch the disease early so that it can be stopped in its tracks.
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