Lyme disease symptoms usually appear in stages.
Lyme disease is transmitted when you get bitten by an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick.
You’re also more likely to get Lyme disease if you live or spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where these ticks carrying the disease thrive. It’s important to take some common precautions in areas where ticks are prevalent.
Causes Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by 4 main species of bacteria which include: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia mayonii, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii bacteria.
Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii are responsible for causing Lyme disease in the United States, while Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are responsible for most of the cases of Lyme disease in Europe and Asia.
These ticks are brown and small, no bigger than a poppy seed, making them nearly impossible to spot.
To contract Lyme disease, you will have to be bitten by an infected deer tick.
The bacteria enter your skin as a result of these bites and eventually find their way into your bloodstream.
In several cases, to transmit the Lyme disease, a deer tick must be attached for about 36 to 48 hours. If you find any attached tick that looks swollen, it may have fed long enough to transmit the bacteria to you. Removing the tick as soon as possible may likely prevent infection.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Lyme disease symptoms vary and usually appear in stages.
In this article, Lyme disease symptoms will be discussed under the following subheadings:
- Early signs and symptoms
- Later signs and symptoms
- Less common signs and symptoms
Early Signs And Symptoms
Some of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may occur within a month after you have been infected. They include:
- A rash (Erythema migrans). This is one of the hallmarks of Lyme disease.
- Body aches
Later signs And Symptoms
If the early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease are left untreated, some new signs and symptoms of Lyme infection might appear in the following weeks to months. They include:
- Rash (Erythema migrans) which appears in other areas of your body
- Severe bouts of joint pain
- Bell’s palsy,
- Weakness or numbness in your limbs
- Impaired muscle movements
- Diffuse rashes
Less Common Signs and Symptoms
After several weeks of infection, some people develop:
- Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat.
- Inflammation of the eye
- Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).
- Severe fatigue.
It’s very important that you consult your doctor even if Lyme disease symptoms disappear.
An absence of Lyme disease symptoms doesn’t mean the disease is gone. If left untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of your body after several months to years of infection, which may cause arthritis and nervous system problems.
Ticks can also transmit other illnesses, such as babesiosis and Colorado tick fever.
Risk Factors For Lyme Disease
The most common risk factors associated with Lyme disease include:
- Leaving your skin exposed while out in areas prone to tick
- Spending time in grassy or wooded areas
- Not removing ticks attached to your skin promptly and properly
Complications Of Lyme Disease
Some of the complications of Lyme disease if left untreated include:
- Chronic joint inflammation (Lyme arthritis), mostly of the knee
- Neurological symptoms, including facial palsy and neuropathy
- Cognitive defects, such as an impaired memory
- Irregularities with the heart rhythm
Prevention Of Lyme Disease
The best way in preventing Lyme disease is in avoiding areas where deer ticks live, especially in wooded areas, bushy areas with long grass.
Here are some precautions you can take to decrease your risk of getting Lyme disease:
- Covering up
- Using insect repellents.
- Doing your best to tick-proof your
- Checking yourself, your children and pets for ticks.
- Do not assume you’re immune, since you can get Lyme disease more than once.
- Remove a tick as soon as possible using tweezers.
Treatment For Lyme Disease
Antibiotics are effective in treatment of Lyme disease. In general, recovery is usually quicker and more complete as soon as treatment begins.
Antibiotics. Some variants of antibiotics to use include the following:
- Oral antibiotics.These are usually the standard treatment for early-stage Lyme disease. They usually include doxycycline for adults and children older than 8 years, or amoxicillin or cefuroxime for adults, younger children, and in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- Intravenous antibiotics.If the disease affects the central nervous system, your doctor may recommend treatment using an intravenous antibiotic for 14 to 28 days. This is also effective in eliminating infection, although it can take some time for you to recover from your symptoms. Intravenous antibiotics can also cause some side effects, including a lower white blood cell count, mild to severe diarrhea.
After treatment, some people may still have some symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue. The cause of these continuing Lyme disease symptoms, known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, is not known, and treating with more antibiotics usually doesn’t help.