Understanding The Basics Of Lyme Disease
A dangerous bacterium scientifically dubbed Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease in humans. You can only get this disease from ticks, and luckily, theres no evidence that Lyme disease is contagious between humans.
This illness causes a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Infected persons often experience fever, aches, fatigue, and headaches. Problems with the heart, joints, and nervous systems are also common. In very rare cases, an infected person may die. Treatment is a 10-to-21-day course of antibiotics that is most effective when taken as soon as possible. But even after taking antibiotics, some patients continue to experience lifelong symptoms.
A bullseye-shaped rash may appear around the bite site after someone has been infected with Lyme disease. If you see this telltale sign, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
What Do You Do If You Become Ill
Consult your health care provider right away if you develop symptoms of Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick or if you visited a known at risk area for Lyme disease. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of a successful treatment.
If you saved the tick that bit you, bring it to your medical appointment. Tell your doctor:
- how long you estimate that the tick was attached to you
- where you were when you were bitten by the tick
How Can I Prevent Tick Bites
The best way to beat Lyme disease is to avoid the ticks that spread it. Ticks cannot jump or fly, and must wait for a passing animal to grab hold of. They live in areas with tall grass and bushes, and where there are thick layers of plant debris. They do not survive well on well trimmed lawns where the sun will quickly dry them out.
Keep your bushes well trimmed and your lawn free of garden debris. When walking in areas with tall grass or brush, it is important to cover arms and legs with long shirt sleeves and long pants, and to tuck pant cuffs into socks to deny ticks entrance.
Insecticide sprays such as permethrin can be used on clothing before outdoor activities. One application will last in fabric for several months. Insect repellent such as DEET or picaridin can be used on skin, and only last several hours at the most. Apply according to the directions on the package, and be careful not to get it in your eyes or mouth.
After coming in from the outdoors, it is important to look over your body and/or your childs body for ticks. This is best done in the shower or bath. Pay close attention to areas where the ticks may hide in the armpits, in the groin, in the belly button, and on the scalp and behind the ears.
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Symptoms: As The Infection Spreads
If the disease goes untreated in its early stages, over several weeks or months it can spread to other areas of the body like your:
- Nervous system
You could also have more rashes and periods of pain and weakness in your arms or legs. Other symptoms include:
- Facial muscle paralysis
- Inflamed brain and spinal cord
What Are The Clinical Signs Of Lyme Disease
Some people with Lyme disease develop a characteristic bull’s-eye rash at the site of the bite within three to thirty days. If this occurs, the disease can be easily diagnosed at an early stage.
However, signs of Lyme disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people. The characteristic rash does not develop in dogs or cats. In fact, Lyme disease is practically unheard of in cats.
“Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells.”
Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells. Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.
Some pets are infected with the Lyme disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be widespread throughout the body. Non-specific signs which may indicate that Lyme disease is affecting the kidneys include vomiting, lethargy, anorexia , and weight loss. The kidney form of the disease is less common, but often fatal.
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How Do I Know If I Have Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease can be a very serious condition if you, a loved one, or a loved pet are displaying any of the following symptoms of Lyme Disease, its important that you contact a medical professional or veterinarian immediately:
- Severe headache
- Tingling in hands or feet
- Drooping of one or both sides of the face
- Brain and spinal cord inflammation
Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.
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How Long Does It Take The Tick To Transmit Lyme
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.
What You Should Know About Dog Ticks And Lyme Disease
I found a dog tick on my ankle. Do they cause Lyme disease?
I found a dog tick on my ankle. Do they cause Lyme disease?
Not Lyme, thankfully, but dog ticks can give you Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can be just as serious, and even fatal. Despite the name, this infection happens throughout the country, though most cases occur in five states: North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting and a red, spotty rash.
There are several species of ticks, each one associated with different diseases. For example, lone star ticks are more common in the Southeast and South Central U.S. and can cause ehrlichiosis, which leads to head and muscle aches, while deer ticks are mainly in the Northeast.
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Ick, I know. But keep in mind that a bite doesnt guarantee that youll get an infection. Not every tick is diseased, and removing the bug within 24 hours can reduce the likelihood of illness. Also, you dont have to run to the doctor right away.
First remove the tick and snap a picture of it. Then, over the next few weeks, keep a close eye out for symptoms, either a red bullseye rash or a fever . If you do develop symptoms, take the photo of the tick with you to the doctor. Knowing the type of tick that bit you can help her prescribe the right antibiotics, which are effective when started early.
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Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 1 to 2 weeks after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but it isnt painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans is said to be characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people dont have this symptom.
Some people have a rash thats solid red, while people with dark complexions may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
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What To Do About A Tick Infestation
Ticks dont travel very far on their own in fact, they often end up in yards by latching onto mice and other wild animals. Thats why at Thomas Pest Services, we use Tick Box Tick Control, a system that targets not just ticks, but also the mice that unknowingly carry them. Weve found this process to be the most effective at keeping ticks out of customers lawns, and in-turn keeping diseases like Lyme Disease from spreading!
Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Late disseminated Lyme disease occurs when the infection hasnt been treated in stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 can occur months or years after the tick bite.
This stage is characterized by:
- arthritis of one or more large joints
- brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, which can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, problems with following conversations and sleep disturbance
- numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet
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Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease In The Northeast
Why was Berndt’s tick so risky? First, it was a blacklegged tick, a known carrier of Lyme disease bacteria. Second, the tick was in southeast Pennsylvania, where relatively large proportions of ticks are infected . Finally, the tick had been feeding for three days, much longer than the transmission threshold of 24 hours.
As a precaution, Berndt went to a doctor and started an antibiotic regimen. He also paid a lab to have the tick tested.
Fortunately, the test came back negative for Lyme disease.
“I think the $50 was worth it, just to be able to say ‘No, it definitely wasn’t carrying it,’ ” Berndt says.
Even though Berndt’s tick tested negative, Mather says it’s still a good idea for people like Berndt to be on the lookout for Lyme symptoms. That’s because they could have gotten other tick bites that went unnoticed.
But Mather stresses that not everyone who finds a tick on their body needs to worry. Many cases have a low probability of causing disease.
“There was one woman, she was nursing a 12-week-old baby and said, ‘I just scraped this off my back and I’m scared,’ ” Mather says. “In her case, it was a barely attached American dog tick. We could tell her, ‘You’re probably fine.’ “
Correction July 24, 2018
An earlier version of this story said incorrectly that Thomas Mather is a professor at Rhode Island University. He is on the faculty of the University of Rhode Island.
Protect You And Your Pets
- Wear light coloured clothes to spot ticks
- Use insect repellents that contains DEET or Icaridin
- Daily full body checks on yourself and pets after coming in from the outdoors
- Cut your grass and dispose of leaf litter
- Outdoor workers should shower or bath within two hours of being in forested or long grass areas
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So If Youre Bitten By An Infected Tick Are You Infected Immediately
Probably not. What happens is that the tick bites you and then it takes some time for the tick to get engorged with blood, Lewis says. At some point after that, the Borrelia Burgdorferi is released with tick saliva. It takes hours. It doesnt happen immediately.
So you dont have to check yourself constantly for ticks.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
How old you are
Lyme disease in the earliest stage is usually treated with antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks.
Treatment will also be considered based on these and other factors:
If you are bitten by a tick that tests positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease
If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms
If you are bitten by a tick and are pregnant
If you are bitten by a tick and live in a high-risk area
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Ticks And Lyme Disease
What is Lyme Disease? Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is spread to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks . Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria. Lyme disease can affect people of any age. A vaccine for Lyme disease is not currently available.
Testing For Kidney Disease
Tests to diagnose kidney disease include complete blood count, serum biochemistry, and urinalysis. These blood tests will determine if your pet is anemic, determine white blood cell counts, measure blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and electrolytes. A urinalysis is essential for the proper interpretation of the urea and creatinine values in the serum biochemistry profile and may also provide important clues to the possible underlying cause of kidney disease. A urinalysis will also determine the specific gravity, pH, presence of blood in the urine, and the amount of protein in the urine. An evaluation of the urine sediment will determine the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, crystalline material, and cellular casts all of which provide information to determine the underlying cause of kidney disease in your pet. Further diagnostic tests may be recommended based on the results of these initial screening tests.
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Preventing And Treating Tick Bites
There are a number of precautions that can be taken in order reduce the chances of a tick attaching, feeding and potentially transmitting an infection. When questing, ticks are most likely to be found in wooded and bushy areas, with high grass and leaf litter, so either avoid or be cautious in these types of environment.
Clothing can provide some protection from ticks. Wearing long-sleeved tops can protect the arms, and tucking pant legs into socks and boots can prevent ticks from having easy access to legs. Repellents are also available that can be applied to both skin and clothing. Those containing 20-30% DEET offer several hours of protection.
After being out in an environment that could be home to ticks, it is recommended that you conduct a full-body tick check, especially as it is hard to notice them without actively searching.
As stated before, prompt removal of ticks is crucial to reducing the risk of infection. Although specialized tick removal devices are available, a regular pair of fine-tipped tweezers is more than adequate.
Using the tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible. With steady, even pressure, pull upwards. Twisting and jerking the tick can cause some of its mouth-parts to remain embedded in the skin. If this occurs, carefully attempt to remove the remaining parts with the tweezers.
I Found Out It Was A Deer Tick That Bit Me What Should I Do Now
If a deer tick bit you, one dose of an antibiotic called doxycycline can prevent Lyme disease if:
- you live in an area where there is a lot of Lyme disease
- the tick was probably attached to you for more than 36 hours
- the tick was removed in the last 3 days
Doxycycline should not be given to pregnant or breastfeeding women or to anyone allergic to doxycycline. If a tick bit you, ask your doctor if you should take doxycycline to prevent Lyme disease.
Is there anything I should look for after a tick bite?
After a tick bite, be on the look-out for signs of infection. The first sign of Lyme disease is usually a gradually enlarging, round or oval red discoloration of the skin surrounding the bite. The rash is usually neither painful nor itchy. Once the infection spreads, the same rash can be seen on other areas of the body. Other symptoms of infection may include:
- facial droop
- body aches.
Late manifestations of Lyme include swollen joints, and rarely neurologic problems like severe headaches. Lyme at any stage is treatable with a set course of antibiotics, typically two weeks and rarely more than a months duration.
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Preventing Tick Bites And Lyme Disease
The best way to prevent tick bites is to avoid their habitat. When you do wander outdoors, cover as much skin as possible. You should also keep your lawn manicured and remove any excess brush and fallen tree limbs.
Mosquito Joe can also put your mind at ease. Our barrier control service will prevent all types of ticks from ruining your picnic. Ticks dont stand a chance against our team! Get in touch with us online or call to schedule your tick control treatment.
Is your overgrown backyard looking like a haven for ticks? The Grounds Guys, another brand in the Neighborly® family, can provide the professional landscaping and lawn care services you need.