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Written by usadigg

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that you get through the bite of an infected tick. First, Lyme disease usually causes symptoms such as a rash, fever, headache and fatigue. However, if it is not treated early, the infection can spread to your joints, heart and nervous system. Timely treatment can help you recover quickly.

What causes Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. In the United States, this is usually a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It transmits to humans through the bite of an infected tick. The ticks they transmit are black-legged ticks (or deer ticks). They are usually found in the:

  • Northeast
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • Upper Midwest
  • Pacific coast, especially northern California

These ticks can attach to any part of your body. However, they are often located in hard-to-see areas such as your groin, armpits and scalp. Normally, the tick must stick to you for 36 to 48 hours or more to transfer the bacterium to you.

Who is at risk for Lyme disease?

Anyone can get a tick bite. But people who spend a lot of time outdoors in wooded, grassy areas are at higher risk. These include campers, hikers and people working in gardens and parks.

Most tick bites happen in the summer months, when the ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. They can also be bitten in the warmer months of early autumn or even in late winter, when temperatures are unusually high. And if there is a mild winter, the ticks may come out earlier than usual.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

The first symptoms of Lyme disease occur between 3 and 30 days after the bite of an infected tick. Symptoms may include:

  • A red rash called erythema migrans (EM). Most people with Lyme disease get this rash. It gets bigger over several days and may feel warm. It is usually not painful or itchy. As it starts to get better, parts of it may fade. Sometimes this makes the rash look like a “bull’s-eye.”
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If the infection is not treated, it can spread to your joints, heart and nervous system. Symptoms may include:

  • Severe headache and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes elsewhere in your body
  • Facial paralysis, which is a weakness of the facial muscles. It can cause hanging on one or both sides of your face.
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees and other large joints
  • Pain that comes and goes in tendons, muscles, joints and bones
  • heart palpitations, i.e. the feeling that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, punching or beating too
  • hard or too fast
  • An irregular heartbeat (Lyme carditis)
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

How is Lyme disease diagnosed?

In order to make a diagnosis, your medical caregiver will consider the following

  • Your symptoms
  • How likely it is that you were exposed to infected blacklegged ticks
  • The possibility that other illnesses may cause similar symptoms
  • Results of any lab tests

Most Lyme disease tests test for antibodies that the body forms in response to the infection. These antibodies can take several weeks to develop. If you are tested immediately, the test may not show that you have Lyme disease, even if you have it. So you may need to have another test performed later.

What are the treatments for Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better; this gives you the best chance to recover completely quickly.

After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue or difficulty thinking that lasts longer than 6 months. This is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). The researchers don’t know why some people have PTLDS. There is no proven treatment for PTLDS; Long-term antibiotics have not been shown to be helpful. However, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of PTLDS. If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel uncomfortable, ask your doctor how to manage your symptoms. Most people are better off over time. However, it may take several months for you to feel better again.

Can Lyme disease be prevented?

To prevent Lyme disease, you should reduce the risk of tick bite:

  • Avoid areas where ticks live, such as.B grassy, bushy or wooded areas. If you are hiking, walk in the middle of the path to avoid scrub and grass.
  • Use an insect repellent with DEET
  • Treat your clothing and equipment with an insect repellent containing 0.5% permethrin.
  • Wear bright protective clothing so that you can easily recognize ticks that are stuck on you.
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long trousers. Also, put the shirt in the pants and the trouser legs in the socks.
  • Check yourself, your children and pets daily for ticks. Carefully remove found ticks.
  • Shower and wash and dry your clothes at high temperatures after you’ve been outdoors.
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