To be thoroughly educated about Lyme disease, it is important that you learn about its definition and infection, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, complications, and prevention.
Lyme disease is far from being classified as an epidemic, but it is best to know, as much as possible, about its causes, symptoms and treatments so that you can avoid infection and the health complications that can arise out of it.
Nature and infection of Lyme disease
An inflammatory disease transmitted by ticks, Lyme Disease, received its name after it was discovered in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi causes this inflammatory disease. People who are bitten by infected ticks, especially deer ticks, often become infected with Lyme disease and this is quite common in late spring and in the start of summer.
Indications that you have been infected with Lyme disease
An infected tick’s bite usually causes a circular skin rash called erythema migrans, also known as “bull’s eye” rash, on the infected person after some days or weeks from the time of the bite. The rash could grow bigger in diameter after a few more days. Aside from the rash, you might feel some other Lyme symptoms that resemble the common flu such as headaches, chills, muscle and joint pains, and fever. There are some cases where only the flu-like symptoms are present without any rash.
In as early as a month, Lyme disease symptoms can become worse if they remain undiagnosed and untreated. You will experience more and worse headaches, pain and numbness in the arms and legs, and even fainting and palpitations. You may experience problems with your memory and have difficulty in concentrating and remembering. These symptoms will get worse over time if not treated immediately or when medication is not effective.
Diagnosing Lyme disease
To properly diagnose Lyme disease, contact your doctor as soon as the symptoms begin to appear. Being open with your doctor about any rashes or any tick bites is important because these information will help your doctor in identifying whether you have Lyme disease. Lab tests like the Western blot and the ELISA may be performed in order to properly diagnose Lyme disease.
How to treat Lyme infection
If Lyme disease is diagnosed at an earlier stage, it can be cured using oral antibiotics like amoxicillin doxycycline, tetracycline, phenoxymethyl, penicillin or cefuroxime. Other oral antibiotics may be also administered together with erythromycin and azithromycin. One may be given intravenous antibiotics if he or she experiences neurological or cardiac problems during the onset or late stage of Lyme disease.
Complications resulting from Lyme disease
If not diagnosed right away or given proper medical treatment and care, Lyme disease can become more serious with long-term complications. Severe fatigue, facial nerve paralysis or Bell’s palsy, meningitis, heart enlargement, heart inflammation, or even chronic arthritis may be alarming signs that your heart, nerves or brain is affected by the disease.
Lyme disease prevention
Prevention is always better than cure. An important preventive action to take is to make sure your body is well-covered when going into wooded and grassy locations. Wearing extra protection, such as long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, shoes, and a cap is recommended. When out camping or doing any other outdoor activities, make it a routine to check your body for ticks and always bathe when coming from the outside in order to ensure that ticks do not stay on your body.
Because Lyme disease is actually pretty rare, you should not let the disease intrude on your outdoor recreations. You mustn’t let your fear of Lyme disease keep you from taking part in your favorite outdoor recreations and interests. In order to avoid long term problems associated with Lyme disease, you should be knowledgeable with the illness including its symptoms and what ways to prevent it.
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