Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium found in Deer ticks and is transmitted through a tick bite. If left untreated, it can eventually affect the heart and central nervous system. While common, Lyme disease has a wide variety of symptoms which can make diagnosis difficult for some patients. Here are some helpful things to know about Lyme disease to protect yourself from infection.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common sign of Lyme disease is a rash that develops on or around the site of a tick bite. The rash may look similar to a mosquito bite at first but will slowly spread and may form a “bulls-eye” pattern. Other early signs may include fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and headaches. Since these symptoms could also be caused by the flu or common cold, it can be hard to diagnose as Lyme disease. If left untreated, more severe symptoms such as muscle impairment, partial paralysis, heart arrhythmia, and meningitis can occur.
Treatment and Prevention
If you start to develop symptoms of Lyme disease, oral antibiotics like amoxicillin can usually cure it in a few weeks if caught early enough. If the disease has become more severe, most patients receive a longer stent of intravenous antibiotics. Patients recovering from severe Lyme disease may have lingering symptoms for weeks or months after treatment. This is commonly known as Chronic Lyme disease or post-Lyme disease syndrome.
Preventing a tick bite is the easiest way to protect yourself from Lyme disease. If you work outdoors or enjoy outdoor activities, you may be at higher risk of coming in contact with ticks. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself while being outdoors.
- Use insect repellent.
- Wear long pants and closed-toed shoes.
- Wear a hat or keep hair tied back.
- Thoroughly examine yourself and your pets when you come inside. Be especially thorough in areas where ticks can hide (i.e: armpits, scalp, groin area).
- Seek professional help if ticks are a major concern in your area.
Removing ticks from your body, pets, and clothes as soon as possible is the best way to prevent infection. If you notice a tick on your body or on your pet, remove it immediately with tweezers. If you want more knowledge about tick prevention and how we can help, contact us at Terminix today!