Lyme Disease: Symptoms, Treatments & Preventions
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease a tick-borne illness caused by four main species of bacteria: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia mayonii, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii bacteria. Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii is the primary cause of Lyme disease in the United States, while Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are the primaries, leading cause of Lyme disease in Europe and Asia.
Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged tick or also known as a deer tick.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Every individual reacts to the Lyme bacteria differently, but here is a list of common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease:
Signs and Symptoms – Early Stages
- Early signs may include fever, headache, unexplained fatigue, muscle and joint aches, chills, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash:
- Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 per cent of infected persons.
- Begins at the tick bite and expands gradually over a period of several days reaching up to 30cm or more.
- Warm and a little swollen, but not itchy.
- “bulls-eye” in appearance.
- May appear anywhere on the body.
Signs and Symptoms – Later Stages
- Stiffness and muscle pain predominantly in the neck and joint area.
- Severe rashes.
- Arthritis-like pain around the joints
- The loss of muscle usage in the face.
- Intermittent pain in the tendon area.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nerve pain.
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet.
- Short term memory issues.
Lyme disease treatments
Antibiotics are the most common medicine used in the treatment of Lyme disease. The chance of success is higher during the early stages. In severe cases of, intravenous therapy may be needed for people with certain neurological or cardiac-related illnesses.
Lyme Disease Prevention
- Tick-infested areas should be avoided, and ticks usually are rampant during spring and summer. Ticks favour moist, shaded environments; especially green, wooded areas and large grassy habitats.
- Make your home and property tick safe.
- Keep a habit of putting insect repellent, particularly around the knees, ankles and elbows.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and tuck all loose clothing inside your pants and socks.
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