Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection that manifests as skin rashes, fever and body aches. The disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi.
It dwells in the bodies of deer ticks and western black-legged ticks, and these ticks are responsible for spreading it. If untreated, Lyme disease can lead to serious complications and chronic conditions.
In this post, we’ll look at the risk factors of Lyme disease as well as some of its most common symptoms. We’ll also examine the treatment options available. For more information on the disease, you can check read Lyme disease explained.
Who is at risk of getting Lyme disease
A certain kind of tick transmits lyme disease, and so, spending time around these insects will increase your chances of getting it. Unfortunately, it’s caused by bacteria, which means you can’t get immunized against it.
Also, ticks in their nymph stage are responsible for causing the disease than all the other kinds of ticks. This is because their small size makes it difficult to spot them early, unlike the adults which can be removed quite easily.
Lyme disease occurrences are also common in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the USA. This may be because of an increased population of deer and black-legged ticks.
The disease is also prevalent at certain times of the year, between April and September because ticks are most active in the warmer months. Being exposed to these regions at these times of the year will also increase your chances of getting Lyme disease.
To minimize your risks of getting Lyme disease, the CDC recommends a three-point approach that includes avoiding contact with the insects, using repellants, and knowing how to remove a tick from your body.
The CDC also recommends the following:
- Avoid areas with high grass
- Stay in the center of wooded hiking trails
- Use insect repellant
- Treat your clothes with products that contain permethrin, which is also an insect repellant
- Do a full-body check for ticks when returning from a potentially tick-infested area
- Wash your clothes in hot water and tumble dry for at least 10 minutes.
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease
The hallmark of Lyme disease is a skin rash that appears at the point of the tick bite. The rash is called a bullseye rash because it looks exactly like a bullseye. It begins from the point of the bite and spreads to nearby parts of the skin.
Not everyone who gets Lyme disease develops a bullseye rash. In fact, statistics show that people who develop the rash can range between 27% and 80% of the population. The disease’s other symptoms closely resemble a flu infection. They include the following:
- Body aches
- Chills or sweats
- Muscle and joint pain
How is Lyme disease treated?
The disease is usually diagnosed by an examination of the symptoms and the individual’s potential exposure to ticks. There are also laboratory tests that can test for Lyme disease antibodies. After a diagnosis, the disease is usually treated with antibiotics.
The kind of antibiotics used depends on the stage of the disease. However, most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with oral antibiotics within three to four weeks.