What is Lyme Disease?

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What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi or. Usually, the bacterium is carried by black legged or deer ticks in their bloodstream. Ticks are known as the primary carrier of Lyme disease.

How is Lyme Disease Transmitted?

Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks; they transfer the bacteria to humans by biting them. Ticks are mostly found in areas with deep vegetation, woodlands, heath areas, gardens and parks where they can easily find animals to feed on. Basically, ticks infect humans by climbing on their clothes then getting their way to their skin and feeding on their blood. It is not easy to notice ticks on your skin as they are generally tiny and their bites are painless.

What are the Symptoms of Lyme disease?

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually vary and appear in stages, these include;

Early Symptoms

The first significant sign of Lyme disease is a small red bump that appears after a tick bite. The red bump appears after a couple of days after a tick bite. After around a month of the infection the following symptoms may develop;

(a) Rash

This appears after a month of the infection, it is circular in shape and takes the form of a bull’s eye. The rash expands gradually over days and can spread to about 30 cm. The rash is however, neither itchy nor painful.

(b) Flu-like symptoms

The rash may also be accompanied by flu-like symptoms that include; fever, body ache, chills, headache and fatigue.

Later symptoms

If Lyme disease goes untreated for a long time, the following symptoms may appear in the later weeks and months;

(a) Joint Pains

Severe joint pains are likely to affect your knees; however, this may shift to other joint areas with time. Sometimes the joint pains may be accompanied by swellings.

 

(b) Neurological Problems

Without  treatment, you are likely to develop inflammation of the membrane around your brain (meningitis), weakness of your limbs, impaired muscle movement and temporary paralysis on one side of your face.

Other signs

Though this is not common, the following signs may also appear in some people;

(a) Eye inflammation

(b) Severe fatigue

(c) Hepatitis

(d) Heart problems e.g. irregular heartbeat

When Should I seek Medication?

Once you’ve been bitten by a tick and you have the above symptoms promptly seek medical attention. Usually, the longer the tick gets attached to your skin the higher the risk of contracting Lyme disease. If you live in a location that’s prevalent of Lyme disease, check with your doctor early enough for any symptoms. Once diagnosed early, treatment of Lyme disease is very effective.

Even after the symptoms disappear consult with your doctor, as an absence of symptoms may not necessarily mean an absence of the disease. This is because ticks can also transmit other illnesses such as Colorado tick fever and babesiosis. Once untreated, Lyme disease can easily spread to other parts of the body, and this may ultimately cause serious conditions such as arthritis and nervous system problems.

 

 

 


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