Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Deer Ticks And Lyme Disease

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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

After Long Winter, Explosion Of Lyme Disease-Carrying Ticks Expected

The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body. The following are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease. But symptoms are slightly different for each person.

The primary symptom is a red rash that:

  • Can appear several days after infection, or not at all

  • Can last up to several weeks

  • Can be very small or grow very large , and may resemble a “bulls-eye”

  • Can mimic such skin problems as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, and flea bites

  • Can itch or feel hot, or may not be felt at all

  • Can disappear and return several weeks later

Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, you may have flu-like symptoms such as the following:

Weeks to months after the bite, the following symptoms may develop:

  • Neurological symptoms, including inflammation of the nervous system and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles

  • Heart problems, including inflammation of the heart and problems with heart rate

  • Eye problems, including inflammation

Months to a few years after a bite, the following symptoms may include:

  • Inflammation of the joints

  • Neurological symptoms including numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, and difficulties with speech, memory, and concentration

Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.

Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented

People aren’t able to become immune to Lyme disease. So even if you’ve had Lyme disease, you can get it again. No vaccine is available currently to prevent the disease.

The FDA approved a Lyme vaccine called LYMErix in 1998. The vaccine was not 100% effective, however. The FDA still recommended preventing the disease in other ways. In 2002, the company that made LYMErix said it would no longer offer the vaccine.

To help prevent Lyme disease, follow these guidelines.

The Teeny Tiny Ticks That Cause The Most Lyme Disease Are Out

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Summer is here, meaning its time to break out the tick protection along with the sunscreen.

Although the deer ticks that transmit Lyme disease are active whenever its above freezing, they are not only out now, they are so tinythe size of a pencil tip or poppy seedthey are practically invisible.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Tick Bites

The Mayo Clinic notes that the majority of tick bites are painless. The symptoms include redness, swelling and a sore on the skin.

If youre bitten by a tick, youll need to carefully remove it as soon as you can, grasping it by the head with tweezers and gently pulling in a slow and steady upward motion. Take care not to squeeze or twist the tick, and dont handle it with bare hands.

If you can, seal the tick in a container and place it in the freezer. If you develop symptoms, this will help the doctor identify the tick that bit you. After youve removed the tick, wash your hands and the area where you were bitten with warm water, soap, rubbing alcohol or an iodine scrub.

Do keep in mind that there are several tick-borne diseases, so the Mayo Clinic does state you should call your doctor if:

  • You arent able to completely remove the tick
  • The rash gets bigger
  • You think the bite site is infected
  • You think you were bitten by a deer tick
  • And if you experience a severe headache, difficulty breathing, paralysis or heart palpitations, the Mayo Clinic recommends calling 911 or your local emergency number.

    Painless But Dangerous Bites

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    Avner’s study reviewed charts of patients hospitalized at the Bronson Healthcare Group in southwest Michigan, with sites in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Paw Paw as well as at Ascension-Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. He looked for admissions between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2021, and any positive testing for Lyme disease, or medical conditions determined connected to Lyme.

    “We are definitely seeing more people hospitalized for Lyme in the area,” he said. “And the reason isn’t because the disease is changing, but that there is more Lyme in the area.”

    It almost certainly means that many more people in the area were infected with Lyme disease who didn’t require hospitalization, Avner said. For many, Lyme infections can result in no symptoms at all or flu-like symptoms that are misdiagnosed, even by doctors. The signature bullseye rash from a blacklegged tick bite is often painless and not always noticed.

    Lyme carditis and neuroborreliosis are two of the most serious, life-threatening complications that can develop from Lyme disease, he said.

    “Lyme disease does generally respond quite well to antibiotics, often an intensive or longer course of antibiotics,” Avner said. “But we do sometimes see longer-lasting complications known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. In the era of long COVID, I would call it long Lyme.”

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    Lizards Ticks And Lyme Disease

    Nymphal Tiny tick nymphs can transmit Lyme disease by biting a human. If they feast on a common western lizard, however, something in the reptile’s blood appears to kill the bacteria

    Adult Adult black-legged ticks move off the forest floor and onto plants and grasses. Those who feasted on lizards as nymphs are less likely to transmit Lyme disease to humans.

    How Can I Prevent Bites From Ticks And Lyme Disease

    You can keep yourself, your loved ones, and your pets from encountering Lyme ticks with a few easy, Be Tick AWARE prevention steps:

    • Avoid high-traffic areas known to host ticks that carry Lyme disease like tall grasses and leaf piles
    • Wear clothing to protect from ticks and Lyme disease, like long sleeves, pants, and socks
    • Apply EPA-approved tick repellent properly
    • Remove clothing to protect from ticks and Lyme disease, like long sleeves, pants, and socks
    • Examine yourself for ticks daily as the risk of Lyme disease is always there

    Learn more about preventing encounters with ticks that carry Lyme disease on our prevention page.

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    What Causes Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is spread to humans by tick bites. The ticks that carry the spirochete are:

    • Black-legged deer tick

    • Western black-legged tick

    Ticks prefer to live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. Depending on the location, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of the ticks are infected with it.

    While most tick bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases. Tick-borne diseases include:

    • Rocky Mountain spotted fever

    Can Any Tick Bite Give Me Lyme Disease

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    No, not all ticks can transmit Lyme disease. In this area, only Ixodes scapularis ticks, also called deer ticks, can spread Lyme disease, and only if the tick is infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Even after a bite from an infected tick, it must be attached long enough usually more than 36 hours to spread the infection to a person.

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    Lyme Disease On The Rise

    Unfortunately, even those who seek treatment for a tick bite dont always rid their bodies of Lyme. In some cases, even a course of rotating antibiotics dont make their Lyme symptoms dont go away. Its not uncommon for people to continue a wide variety of expensive treatments for years. Some take every antibiotic available, including a peripherally inserted central catheter line and intramuscular penicillin. Others join online support groups and try one experimental treatment after another. The whole process can exhaust some peoples energy, willpower, and pocketbook.

    They’re Back After 10000 Years

    Though a warming Great Lakes region leading to milder winters and longer summers may help blacklegged ticks to thrive, “it’s not that they were limited at all,” Tsao said.

    “In the winter, as long as they have shelter under the leaf litter to keep them relatively warm and moist, they are OK,” she said. “Lake-effect snow actually helps them. Snow kind of provides an insulation on the ground level, where the ticks are.”

    Because the ticks prefer leafy forest floors, more fragmented lands such as farm fields and urban areas are less optimal for them, Tsao said. But because they are parasites carried on birds, deer, racoons, opossums, squirrels, mice and more, they will go wherever those animals go, she said.

    Researchers increasingly believe this is more of a reestablishment of blacklegged ticks into the Great Lakes region rather than a new invasion, Tsao said. They were likely cleared out of the area with the glaciers of the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago, then their numbers kept in check by the heavy deforestation and near-extirpation of whitetail deer in the Great Lakes region into the 1900s.

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    What Is Chronic Lyme Or Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

    • This is when someone has lasting symptoms of fatigue, pain, or joint and muscle aches at the time they finish treatment. Flu-like symptoms may also occur.,,
    • Some people have symptoms lasting more than 6 months.,
    • The exact cause is not known. Most medical experts believe that the lingering symptoms are the result of residual damage to the tissues and the immune system that occurred during the infection.

    Where Do We Find Ticks

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    Generally, you can find ticks where the animals they feed on live. This usually includes wooded and grassy areas. An adult tick quests for its next blood meal by climbing up grasses and bushes to wait for an animal to pass by. Nymphs and larvae are typically found in layers of decomposing leaves underneath trees. Ticks thrive in damp environments and are less active in hot, dry weather.

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    When Should I Get Medical Care

    • The tick was attached to the skin for more than 36 hours.
    • Part of the tick remains in the skin after attempted removal.
    • A rash develops .
    • The bite area looks infected .
    • Symptoms like fever, headache, tiredness, stiff neck or back, or muscle or joint aches develop. These symptoms do not at all necessarily mean the child has Lyme disease, but we should still talk about them.

    Should I Have The Tick Tested For Lyme Disease

    No, testing a tick for Lyme disease is not helpful. It is usually not the tick you find, but the tick that you dont find that gives you Lyme. A tick that tests negative for Lyme may only give you false assurance. If you live somewhere with Lyme disease, it is best to assume that the deer tick that bit you is infected and can spread the infection.

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    I Just Found A Tick Attached To Me What Should I Do

    Dont panic. First, remove the tick with a pair of tweezers. Grasp the tick close to the skin and pull directly upwards until the tick comes free.

    Try to remove the tick whole. If you do, it is likely the tick will still be alive and moving.

    Place the tick in a plastic bag or other sealed container. Try to identify what kind of tick it is that bit you. An online tick identification chart, like the one from the University of Rhode Islands TickEncounter Resource Center may be helpful. If you are not sure what type of tick bit you, it is best to bring it to your doctor or someone else who can identify ticks.

    Its important to remember that Lyme disease is not the only infection spread by deer ticks, and deer ticks are not the only ticks that can spread infections. After any tick bite, you should monitor your health. If you develop a high fever or chills, you should seek medical attention, and be sure to mention to the doctor that you have recently had a tick bite.

    How Long Does It Take The Tick To Transmit Lyme

    Deer ticks that can carry Lyme disease found at Ojibway

    Experts disagree about how long it takes a tick to transmit Lyme disease. The CDC says that in most cases, the tick must be attached more than 24 hours.

    We think that gives people a false sense of security. In some research studies, 5-7% of nymphs transmitted the Lyme bacteria in less than 24 hours. One paper reported on a case of Lyme disease transmitted after six hours of tick attachment. The risk may be low the first day, but its not zero.

    Furthermore, some studies show that only 30% of patients with Lyme disease recall a tick bite. If people dont even realize that they were bitten, how could they know how long the tick was attached?

    The longer a tick stays on you, the more likely it will transmit disease. Its important to find and remove any tick as soon as possible.

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    What Is A Tick

    Ticks are not insects but Arachnids, a class of Arthropods, which also includes mites, spiders and scorpions. They are divided into two groups hard bodied and soft bodied both of which are capable of transmitting diseases in the United States.

    Ticks are parasites that feed by latching on to an animal host, imbedding their mouthparts into the hosts skin and sucking its blood. This method of feeding makes ticks the perfect vectors for a variety of pathogenic agents. Ticks are responsible for at least ten different known diseases in humans in the U.S., including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, and more recently, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.

    Upstate Study Finds Lyme Disease Alters Tick Behavior

    A new study of tick behavior by the SUNY Center for Vector-Borne Diseases at Upstate Medical University shows that ticks infected with pathogens carrying Lyme disease prefer to bite humans in different areas than uninfected ticks.

    According to the paper, Human attachment site preferences of ticks parasitizing in New York, published in Nature.coms Scientific Reports Journal, the location of tick attachment is of clinical importance because it can allow for ticks to be rapidly discovered and removed, curtailing their ability to transmit pathogens.

    The research team, led by Saravanan Thangamani, found that the infected ticks preferred the chest area , the midsection and the groin and upper thigh

    This means that the infected ticks behavior is altered when they start crawling on us to find a particular place to feed, said Thangamani, a professor of microbiology and immunology director of the SUNY Center for Vector-Borne Diseases.

    The information is helpful for both the general public and clinicians.

    It allows the general public to know where the ticks could potentially attach, so they can check for ticks in that specific area, Thangamani said. Also, when a person goes to a health care provider, the clinician can look for signs of tick bites and reaction in those areas.

    The three main ticks found in New York are the deer tick , the dog tick and the Lone Star tick , which each can carry different disease-causing agents.

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    How Do I Avoid Getting Bitten By A Tick

    The best way to protect you against Lyme disease and other tickborne illnesses is to avoid tick bites. This includes avoiding tick-infested areas. However, if you live in or visit wooded areas or areas with tall grass and weeds, follow these precautions against Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and tularemia:

    Which Ticks Should I Worry About

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    Nymphal ticks cause most cases of Lyme disease. Because nymphs are as small as poppy seeds and their bite is painless, people often dont realize they have been bitten. Adult ticks can also infect humans, but are easier to spot and remove.

    Not all ticks are infected. Because tick studies have only been done in a relatively few places, in most of the US, tick infection rates are unknown. Even in places where ticks generally do not carry Lyme, there may be hotspots of infection depending on local conditions. The tick infection rate may also change from year to year, even in one location.

    To get a better idea of which tick-borne diseases have been found in your area, check this site.

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    Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.

    The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.

    The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. It’s not usually hot or itchy.

    The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.

    LARRY MULVEHILL/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY https://www.sciencephoto.com/media/259371/view

    Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:

    • a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
    • tiredness and loss of energy

    Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later.

    This is more likely if treatment is delayed.

    These more severe symptoms may include:

    • pain and swelling in joints
    • nerve problems such as pain or numbness
    • trouble with memory or concentration

    Can Lyme Disease Be Treated

    Yes. People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. People with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with antibiotics such as ceftriaxone or penicillin. For additional information, please consult the CDC webpage at .

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