Nowadays, diseases can already be acquired from anything, from anyone and from anywhere. Because of this, precautions must be taken in order to prevent obtaining and transmitting the causative agents of these diseases. In addition to these, proper and adequate knowledge about these diseases is also important as way to educate ourselves on how to hinder the spread of these conditions. An example of a health problem that has been affecting more and more people these days is the Lyme’s disease. But what is Lyme’s disease and what are the different facts and details pertaining to this type of condition?
Understanding Lyme’s Disease
Lyme’s disease or Lyme disease is a type of infection that is caused by a bacterium called as Borrelia burgdorferi. This type of bacteria is usually seen in small animals such as mice and rodents. These organisms can be transmitted to human through the Ixodes ticks or otherwise known as black-legged or deer ticks. These ticks are capable of picking up the Borrelia burgdorferi as soon as they bite on infected animals. Once these ticks carry the bacterium, they can also pass it to the bloodstream of humans. Immature or young ticks are about the size of poppy seeds. These are otherwise called as nymphs. Adult ticks, on the other hand, are similar in size with sesame seeds.
Identifying the Symptoms of Lyme’s Disease
Detecting what the different signs and symptoms of Lyme’s disease are is considered to be essential since ticks are very hard to find and their bites are most likely overlooked. In fact, the bites of ticks can be so small that they are usually painless. Some people who were infected by this disease don’t even have the recollection of being bitten. Fortunately, not all tick bites can result to the occurrence of Lyme’s disease.
Nevertheless, Lyme’s disease can affect different parts of the body including the nervous system, joints, skin and as well as the heart. These symptoms usually occur in three stages; however, not all of these stages can be experienced in all cases.
• First Stage – the first stage usually starts with a circular rash that occurs within 1 to 2 weeks of infection. This is considered the first sign of the disease. However, not all cases of Lyme’s disease can result to the appearance of the circular rash. In addition to this, the rash also has a bull’s eye appearance. This too has a central red spot that is surrounded by a clear skin that is ringed by another expanding red rash. This likewise appears as an expanding ring of solid redness. The rash is also warm to touch but is usually not painful and/or itchy. This can also be difficult to notice on dark-colored skin tones, which will resemble more like a bruise. This rash will usually disappear after a month.
• Second Stage – The second stage of the Lyme’s disease may involve the occurrence of flu-like symptoms including the swelling of lymph nodes, the presence of fatigue and headache as well as the experience of muscle pains. The symptoms of the initial illness usually disappear without any kind of treatment. However, the infection could spread to the other parts of the body. These symptoms also appear several weeks after the bite of the tick including those who did not develop the initial rash. Aside from this, the feeling of tiredness can also be present as well as the addition of more rashes that are not located at the site of the bite. The bacteria can also affect the heart, which can lead to irregular heart rhythm and/or chest pain. This can likewise spread to the nervous system, which causes paralysis or Bell’s palsy and tingling or numbness in the extremities. This can also lead to neck stiffness and headaches, which are possible signs of meningitis. Joint swelling and enlargement can likewise occur.
• Third Stage – The third or the last stage of the disease can also occur if the early stages of the disease is not detected or treated. The symptoms of this stage can appear anytime from weeks to as long as years after the infectious bite of the tick. This can cause arthritis particularly in the knees and as well as memory lapses. This however, is only present in adults and is considered rare in kids and teens.
Because of the large or the wide range of symptoms that entail Lyme’s disease, most doctors find it hard to diagnose the condition properly. Nevertheless, certain blood tests and exams could be done in order to identify the body’s reaction to Lyme’s disease. Contacting the doctor must be done as soon as the tick bite is noticed. However, if the bite is unnoticed, seeing the first signs and symptoms of the disease, such as the bull’s eye rash, must be immediately reported to the doctor.
Preventing Lyme’s Disease
There is actually no sure way in preventing Lyme’s disease from occurring. However, minimizing the risk is still possible for us to do. One way for us to do this is to avoid contact to any places that are considered high-risk such as shady, moist areas filled with tall grass, bushes, shrubs and low branching trees. Lawns and gardens can also be a good place for ticks to harbor. Once outdoors or on a picnic, wearing enclosed shoes or boots, long sleeved shirts and long pants is always advisable. Applying insect repellants that contain 20 to 30% of DEET is also recommended. Wearing light colored clothes also help detect ticks easily. These are just some of the ways in order to reduce the risk of having tick bites that can lead to Lyme’s disease.