Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by tick bites. It was initially identified in 1975, when many youngsters in Lyme, Connecticut, were diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers studied and discovered that tick bites were to blame for the disorders.
Black-legged ticks transmit Lyme disease (sometimes called deer ticks). These ticks are around the size of a sesame seed. They are primarily concentrated in the following parts of the country:
- Northeast and mid-Atlantic (northeast Virginia to Maine)
- North central states (mostly Wisconsin and Minnesota)
- West Coast (mostly northern California)
On the other hand, Lyme disease can be found in various parts of the United States. While it is more common in the areas mentioned, cases of Lyme disease were documented in practically every state in 2017. Europe, Asia, and Australia are also affected by the disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease?
Early signs (3–30 days after a tick bite):
- Joint and muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
The rash is a prominent symptom of Lyme disease. It typically begins at the site of the tick bite. It grows slowly over a few days. It can grow to be 12 inches across or more prominent. The center may fade, resulting in a “bull’s eye” or target appearance. The rash may feel warm to the touch.
Some Lyme disease patients do not get the bulls-eye rash. Instead, they could have a lot of red patches. Others do not develop a rash at all. A rash appears in approximately 75% of Lyme disease patients.
Later symptoms (from a tick bite to months later):
Lyme disease can spread to other places of the body if not treated. The following are late-stage symptoms:
- Neck stiffness
- Arthritis (painful, swollen joints)
- Additional rashes
- Facial palsy (face muscles droop)
- Irregular or slow heartbeat
- Numbness in arms or legs
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- Changes in mood or sleep habits
- Short-term memory problems
- Nerve pain
A little lump or red mark where a tick bit you is typical. This does not necessarily imply that you have Lyme disease. It usually clears up in a day or two.
What causes Lyme disease?
People contract Lyme disease after being bitten by an infected tick. Ticks prefer regions with many plant life, such as forested areas or fields. They are found near the tops of grassy plants and low bushes. They stand there waiting for people or animals to rub up against them. Ticks can crawl on your clothes or body for several hours before sticking to your skin.
Ticks can cling to any place on your body. They are typically found in hard-to-see places such as the armpits, groin, or scalp. An infected tick must remain attached to your skin for 36 to 48 hours before passing the bacterium.
People who spend time outside in tick-infested areas are more likely to contract tick-borne diseases.
How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
Lyme Disease can be challenging to identify. The ticks that carry it are pretty little, and the bites are not painful. Many patients do not recall being bitten. Furthermore, most of the symptoms are shared by different disorders.
If you locate a tick in your skin, remove it right away using tweezers. Then wait a few days to see whether you get any symptoms. If this occurs, contact your primary care physician. Your doctor will inquire about your symptoms. They will examine the bite to see whether there is a rash. They may request a blood test. However, these are not always required to make a diagnosis. They frequently produce false results, especially in early-stage Lyme disease.
People who experience joint swelling or nervous system disorders may require additional testing. Your doctor may need to extract some fluid from the swollen joint or the spine to look for clues to your disease.
Call your doctor if you have been ill for four weeks or more. At this point, they can do a blood test on you. It will inform you if you have Lyme disease.
Can Lyme disease be prevented or avoided?
Avoiding tick bites is the most effective strategy to avoid Lyme disease. Follow these tips when you’re outside:
- Avoid places that are densely forested, brushy, or overgrown with grass.
- Walk through the center of the paths.
- Use an insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET. It can be applied to garments or the skin sparingly. It should not be used on children’s faces or hands.
- Use repellents with 0.5% permethrin on clothing, tents, and other gear.
- Dress in light-colored garments. This makes ticks simpler to spot and remove from your clothing.
- Put on a long-sleeved shirt and pants. For further protection, tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots.
Check everything and everyone for ticks when you reach home.
- Bathe or shower as quickly as possible to remove any ticks that have not attached themselves to you.
- Ticks should be checked all over your body. Use a mirror to see where you can’t see. Examine your children and pets. Ticks are commonly found in the back of the knees, groin area, underarms, ears, scalp, and back of the neck.
- Examine any equipment you utilized, such as coats, bags, or tents.
Tumble dry garments or blankets for 10 to 15 minutes on high heat in the dryer. This should eliminate any ticks. If your clothing is filthy, wash them in hot water and dry them on high for 60 minutes.
How is Lyme disease treated?
Antibiotics are commonly used to treat Lyme disease. Most tick bite victims are only given antibiotics if they are sick or have a rash. Antibiotics are not necessary if you are bitten by a tick but do not become ill or develop a rash.
Early-stage Lyme disease responds quite well to therapy. In most situations, taking an antibiotic for 2 to 4 weeks kills the germs and cures the infection. Livv Natural will advise you on how long to take the medication. It is critical to take all of the medications prescribed by your naturopathic doctor. This will prevent Lyme disease from spreading to your joints, neurological system, or heart. If you experience issues with the medication, do not stop taking it. Call your doctor and explain your symptoms.
Late-stage Lyme disease is also treated with antibiotics. At this time, antibiotics may need to be administered intravenously (through an IV). Ozone therapy, glutathione, high dose vitamin C, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), NAD+ IV therapy, and nutritional supplements are some of the treatments for Lyme disease. Arthritis caused by late-stage Lyme disease can be relieved with medications that reduce swelling and pain. Excess fluid from any problematic joints can be drained if necessary.
Living with Lyme disease
Most people treated in the early stages of Lyme disease recover wholly and quickly. Some people may have symptoms for a few weeks after treatment. Call your family doctor if you were treated for Lyme disease but still don’t feel well. They can ensure that nothing else is wrong. They can assist you in finding strategies to alleviate your discomfort. Treatments commonly used for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia have provided alleviation for some people.