The Facts About Lyme Disease

LIGHTNING RELEASES 07/02/14 – Lyme disease can affect different body systems, such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. Children are at the highest risk of acquiring Lyme disease. It is essential for the health, welfare, and education of children to provide awareness to educators, parents and students about it. It’s important to identify and watch for symptoms of Lyme disease since it’s easy to overlook a tick bite. Most of the time, people who get Lyme disease don’t remember being bitten. The good news is that most tick bites don’t result in Lyme disease and that it is not contagious. It can’t be transmitted from one person to another.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi from Deer Ticks (also called black-legged ticks) that feed on animals and then pass on Borrelia burgdorferi to people through their bites. Ticks are tiny and can be hard to see. Immature ticks, or nymphs, are about the size of a poppy seed; adult ticks are about the size of a sesame seed.

Tick bites often manifest with a circular rash, a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It can be warm to the touch, itchy, scaly, burning, prickling, or sometimes painless. Along with the rash, a person may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and facial paralysis. A person may have more areas of rash that aren’t at the area of the bite. The risk of developing Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick is only about 1% to 3%. On top of that, it takes at least 24 to 48 hours for the tick to transmit the bacteria that cause the infection.

How can we prevent it?

With such an extensive range of symptoms it can make Lyme disease tricky for doctors to make a diagnosis. But specific blood tests can be done to find for indication of the body’s reaction to Lyme disease.

There’s no guaranteed way to avoid getting Lyme disease but risk can be minimized.You need to be alert of high-risk tick areas like lawns, gardens, forest, areas with tall grass, brush, shrubs, or shady areas, or moist ground cover or low tree branches. Make sure you wear enclosed shoes, long shirts or blouses, and long pants when outdoors. Use an insect repellant accordingly. Don’t sit on the ground and do wash clothes and hair after leaving tick-infested areas.

Treatment?

Lyme disease is usually treated with high levels of antibiotics over an extended period of time (up to 3 years) and although this is an effective treatment for the bacteria concerned, it can have a very dramatic effect on the bodies immune system, lowering your resistance to other infections or symptoms. Long term sufferers of Lyme disease often end up with sever arthritis like symptoms, with aching joints and intense muscle pain frequently experienced.

Lyme disease is not contagious, so it can’t be transmitted from person to person. But people can get it more than once from ticks that live on deer, in the woods, or travel on pets. So continue to practice caution even if you or your child has already had Lyme disease.

It is important to be aware and always be on the lookout for ticks and rashes or ask your doctor about it.