Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection. One can end up with the disease if bitten by an infected tick, but most who were bitten do not develop it. It is vital to consult a doctor if an attached tick could not be removed.
It is important to note that Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. The ticks that are infected spread the bacteria by biting both animals and humans. The ticks known to carry the bacteria include:
- Deer ticks
- Western black-legged ticks
If a tick is seen, it should be removed right away. The infected ticks do not usually transmit the disease until they are attached for at least 36 hours.
Indications of Lyme disease
One indication of Lyme disease is a round-shaped, red rash that spreads at the site of the bite. The rash can become bigger.
There are also flu-like symptoms in which there is tiredness along with headaches, fever and sore joints and muscles in the initial phase of the disease. These symptoms can arise at any time from 3 days up to a month after being bit. Some do not have any symptoms in the early phases and might not even remember being bit by a tick.
In case Lyme disease is not treated right away, serious symptoms manifest over time such as:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Diminished energy that does not get better
- Tingling and numbness in the feet, hands and back
- Poor memory
- Difficulty focusing
- Weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles
The main treatment for the condition involves antibiotics. These typically cure Lyme disease within 3 weeks of starting the treatment.
Treatment is essential for the condition as soon as possible. If left untreated, it can progress to issues with the joints, skin, heart and nervous system. These can manifest weeks, months or even years after being bit by a tick.
The ideal way to prevent Lyme disease is proper protection such as the following:
- Cover as much skin as possible when outdoors especially in grassy or woody areas.
- Use long-sleeved shirts, hat and long pants with the legs tucked into the socks.
- Choose light-colored clothes to easily spot ticks.
- Utilize an insect repellant that contains DEET.
- Pets should be checked for ticks after spending time outdoors.