What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by 4 specific kinds of bacteria, but by far the largest vector for the bacteria is the deer or black-legged tick. While the signs and symptoms vary and appear in stages, there is often some overlap between stages.
People who have pets and reside in wooded areas where ticks live run a much greater chance of being bitten and infected with Lyme disease. The initial stage is a small red bump, quite like a mosquito bite that goes away on its own within a few days, but leaving behind a nasty memory of the experience in the form of a serious illness. In some cases, it may take up to a month for the signs to show from the bite, so just because a few days have passed does not mean you are out of the woods just yet.
Within three days to a month following an infected tick bite, an expanding red area begins to form that looks kind of similar to a bullseye. It keeps spreading over the next several days and can reach a foot in diameter. While it doesn’t itch or hurt, it is noticeably red and will feel warm to the touch.
Called erythema migrans, not everyone who gets bitten develops the rash. However, there are other accompanying symptoms of Lyme disease like fever, fatigue, chills, aches, stiff joints, and swollen lymph nodes.
The condition can cause the rash to appear at any time. It also causes bouts of severe joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees. It can also cause meningitis, or inflammation of the brain’s surrounding tissues which can cause paralysis on one side or the other. This can show up weeks, months, or even years later. Weeks after being bitten, some people can develop heart issues, eye inflammation, inflammation of the liver and what feels like chronic fatigue syndrome.
Not all bites result in Lyme disease, but the longer the tick is attached to one’s skin, the greater the chance of developing it. If a person finds the tick and burns it off with a match in under 36-48 hours, the likelihood of developing Lyme disease is much smaller than if it had burrowed all the way in and died. That basically guarantees a person of Lyme disease.
If there is even a chance that a tick has bitten you or your pet, get prompt medical attention. The treatment and long-term outlook for the disease is much more positive if attended to promptly.
Risk Factors for Catching Lyme Disease
Risk factors of catching Lyme disease go up for people who spend large amounts of time outdoors in heavily wooded areas and do so without wearing protective clothing. Ticks love exposed skin; it is a beacon to an all-they-can-eat buffet.
If you find a tick, remove it properly by burning it off. Make certain to get the head out, and as long as it is attended to promptly, the chances of developing Lyme disease are much smaller.
Treatment for Lyme disease and other infections includes Precision Medicine.
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On behalf of the Natural Balance team, we hope you have found this information helpful and we look forward to working with you.
For a personalized assessment and treatment plan unique to you and your needs, call Natural Balance Wellness Medical Center at (734) 929-2696 or book an appointment online.