Lyme disease and what it looks like
As was said in my first blog on Lyme disease, it is an infection caused by bacteria. This infection is transmitted by the deer tick that carries the bacteria. An infected tick can transmit the bacteria to humans and animals that it bites. Untreated, it travels through the bloodstream, establishes itself in various body tissues, and can cause a number of symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be serious and may affect the skin, nervous system, heart and/or joints of a person.
What are the first symptoms of Lyme disease?
Symptoms usually start with a bull’s eye rash. In almost 80% of the cases, a rash resembling a bull’s eye or
a solid patch, about two inches in diameter, appears near the site of the bite. Over time, it will expand.
Next most people get one or more of the following: headache, chills and fever, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle and joint pain plus some report swollen glands. As you can see, the early stages are no fun at all. In spite of this, if Lyme disease is unrecognized or untreated in this early stage, even more severe results may occur.
This early stage typically lasts three to four weeks. It is important to also know that while the rash usually appears at the site of the bite, it can in some cases appear anywhere on your body. If you even think you have Lyme disease symptoms, you should see your physician immediately.
When do the early symptoms appear?
If you are bitten by an infected tick, the early symptoms usually appear within 30 days. However, in some cases, it many take up to 45 days to appear. A key fact to remember is that not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. If you discover a deer tick attached to your skin that has not yet become blood engorged, it has not been there long enough to transmit the Lyme disease bacteria. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to be alert in case any symptoms do appear. Remember, if diagnosed and treated early with antibiotics, Lyme disease is almost always readily cured. It can also be treated effectively in the later stages, but because the rate of progression varies from person to person, symptoms can linger for months or even years. In rare cases, it causes permanent damage.
What are the later stage symptoms and problems?
As the disease progresses, severe fatigue, tingling or numbness in your arms or legs, a stiff neck or facial paralysis can occur. In addition, the most severe problems may not occur for months or years after the tick bite. These can include swelling of the joints, harsh headaches, and painful arthritis, plus heart and central nervous system problems.
Dose past infection make a person immune?
I wish I could say yes, however, the disease is a bacterial infection. Even if successfully treated in the past, a person can become reinfected later.
How is the disease treated?
Early treatment of Lyme disease (within four weeks of bite) is straightforward and usually successful. There are three oral antibiotics that are most highly recommended for treatment. They are common antibiotics and your doctor can easily prescribe them.
In my next two blogs on this problem, I will cover a number of ways to protect yourselves and your family from these pests. I will also cover how to remove a tick safely if you find one on yourself or a family member.
Have a nice week, see you on the park!!
Categorised in: Questions / Answers
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