How Deer Ticks Get Lyme Disease
Deer ticks have four stages of life: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. It is in the larvae stage when a tick can first latch on to a mammal and begin to feed on the blood of that animal. Because they are still very small, and because ticks live on the ground, the first mammals they attach to are usually small as well.
Rabbits, birds, moles, and rats are a few examples of the animals deer ticks latch onto for feeding. Any of these animals could be carrying Lyme disease. When the tick feeds on an animal with Lyme, it then acquires the bacteria of Lyme disease.
Deer ticks quickly molt into nymphs, growing larger in size and giving them the ability to latch onto larger animals. As they continue to grow into adult ticks, they find animals like whitetail deer to feed on. Deer can also have Lyme disease and pass it onto the tick feeding on them. The deer tick, once infected, can transmit Lyme disease to other mammals, including humans.
Lifecycle Of Blacklegged Ticks
The lifecycle of blacklegged ticks generally lasts two years. During this time, they go through four life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After the eggs hatch, the ticks must have a blood meal at every stage to survive.
Relative sizes of several ticks at different life stages. In general, adult ticks are approximately the size of a sesame seed and nymphal ticks are approximately the size of a poppy seed.
Blacklegged ticks can feed from mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The ticks need to have a new host at each stage of their life, as shown below:
This diagram shows the lifecycle of blacklegged ticks that can transmit Lyme disease.
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.
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How Do You Prevent Lyme Disease
The best was to prevent Lyme disease and co-infections is awareness. Frequent tick checks on ourselves and our pets will help prevent exposure. Using a safe tick repellent and repellent infused clothing can also offers some additional protection. Put your clothes into the dryer when coming back into the house and place the dryer on high for 10 minutes. This heat will kill any ticks that could have been on your clothing. Make sure you inspect childrens full head, ears, underarms, umbilicus, , groin and between the toes. Here are instructions to remove a tick.
Spending time in nature provides a spectacular experience, one that should not be avoided. With a few basic precautions, you can avoid getting infected with Lyme disease. Simple steps can help everyone stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors.
Book a free discovery call with Cindy or Kerah at Pursue Wellness, where we can work with you to prevent, treat, and manage Lyme disease.
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What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection
There are three stages:
- Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
- Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
- Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.
About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.
Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I found a tick embedded in my skin, but I cant get it out. What should I do?
- Ive been bitten by a tick. Do I need to be seen?
- Do I need a blood test to confirm Lyme disease?
- Which antibiotic is best for me?
- How long will I have to take the antibiotic?
- What tick or insect repellent should I use for me or my child?
- How long will the symptoms last?
- What should I do if I still dont feel well a long time after I was bitten?
What Can You Do To Prevent Lyme Disease
You can take some preventative measures to ensure that your dog does not contract Lyme disease or that they receive proper treatment on time.
Check your dog regularly for ticks if you frequent grassy areas and remove any ticks that you find on your pet immediately. You should also get your dog vaccinated for this disease. Lastly, your petâs veterinarian can look into preventative medication.
If your pet has shown signs of Lyme disease, contact Animal Health Center, located in Enterprise, Alabama. Animal Health Center is ready to serve you and your pet with over five decades of experience, quality service, 24/7 emergency care, pet boarding, animal dental care, and more. Call 347-0544 or go to their website for more information to book an appointment.
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How Is Rickettsia Treated
Once Rickettsia is successfully identified, it can be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. The treatment course spans a week to ten days, and should be administered as soon as possible, even in cases where RMSF is suspected and not yet confirmed. This is especially pertinent with children, who are at a higher risk of dying from the disease than healthy adults.
Rickettsia can be a particularly dangerous and insidious pathogen, especially when paired with other co-infections like Lyme. Robust education around vector-borne diseases, concrete diagnosis and rapid treatment, is the key to defeating it.
Featuredimage by Catkin on Pixabay
Some Other Ways To Avoid Lyme Disease
While in the woods, try to stay on paths and in clearings as much as possible. Ticks carrying Lyme disease often are found in the underbrush and in otherwise overgrown sections. Staying in relatively open territory helps to lessen the chances that a bite will occur.
Using insect repellant when being outside is also a basic form of Lyme disease prevention. While the repellant does not kill the ticks, it does tend to stop them from being attracted to your person. Just about any brand of the repellant will work just fine, from basic mosquito repellant to something stronger. Apply a thin layer to your face and neck, as well as to your hands. Also, a quick spray on your shirt, jeans, and shoes would not be out of order.
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It is important to note that Lyme disease prevention is necessary even if a walk in the woods is not forthcoming. Migratory birds can transmit the disease, and deer ticks can find their way onto household pets and back into the city. Keeping your property sprayed from time to time, as well as making sure your dog or cat is not playing host to a deer tick, will go a long way toward making your Lyme disease prevention program effective and successful.
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Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks to months after the tick bite.
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell, and a rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
What Are The Risk Factors For Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Risk factors for Post Treatment Lyme Disease include:
- Delay in diagnosis
- Increased severity of initial illness
- Presence of neurologic symptoms
Increased severity of initial illness, the presence of neurologic symptoms, and initial misdiagnosis increase the risk of Post Treatment Lyme Disease. PTLD is especially common in people that have had neurologic involvement. The rates of Post Treatment Lyme Disease after neurologic involvement may be as high as 20% or even higher. Other risk factors being investigated are genetic predispositions and immunologic variables.
In addition to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there are several other tick-borne co-infections that may also contribute to more prolonged and complicated illness.
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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:
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease
Most of the people who get Lyme disease and treated early will be fine.
Even after proper treatment, some patients may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This does not signify ongoing infection and will not respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms resolve over the next 1-6 months.
Chronic Lyme Syndrome
Chronic Lyme syndrome is a term used by some that includes the symptoms of Post-Lyme syndrome outlined above. This is a controversial topic with no accepted etiology and no proven cause or association.
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A Vicious Cycle Of An Illness That Causes Fatigue And Insomnia
But here is the problem: Although being exhausted, most people with Lyme disease also complain about sleep problems. They have problems falling asleep but also staying asleep.
It seems a paradox, but you feel tired, and the only thing you want to do is sleep, but you cant. Lyme disease can lead to severe insomnia and prevent you from getting the rest you so desperately need to get well. So you end up in a vicious cycle of an illness that causes fatigue on one end and prevents you from restful sleep at the other.
Most likely, this is related to the fact that Lyme disease can cause different levels or neuronal inflammation. And any inflammation of the brain can affect your sleep.
A Full Guide On Lyme Disease And Why It Causes Fatigue And Insomnia
When you ask people, Whats the biggest threat when spending outdoors? not many will think of tick bites. However, the truth is that tick bites are more dangerous than you may think. They can carry the Borrelia bacterium causing you to contract Lyme disease.
Lyme disease has become more prevalent in many parts of North America and Europe. Ticks can now be found in all 50 US states. Many areas are considered high-risk because up to 60% of ticks in these regions carry infection.
My first contact with Lyme disease was through my sister, who contracted Lyme twice. Fortunately, in both cases, she recovered quite fast with the standard antibiotics treatment. However, I remember while she was sick, she was very tired but also had a lot of trouble sleeping a double burden which is very common among people with Lyme disease.
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As the incidence of Lyme disease seems to increase a little with each passing year, it has become important to understand how Lyme disease is spread and what you can do to prevent contracting it. Also, in case you have been diagnosed with Lyme, you may find my tips on how to improve your sleep helpful. Enough restful sleep is vital to your recovery process.
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How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
In areas where ticks are found, people should know about the risk of Lyme disease and should take precautions to protect themselves. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease so it can be detected and treated promptly. PHAC states that removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours after the tick bite usually prevents infection.
PHAC has also prepared a Lyme disease tool kit which provides material to raise awareness and educate.
How Long Do Ticks Have To Be On You To Transmit Lyme Disease
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.
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Can I Prevent Lyme Disease
Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can protect yourself from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure to:
- Stay in the middle of the trail instead of going through high grass or the woods.
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.
- Use an insect repellent.
- Consider treating your clothing and gear with permethrin to repel ticks.
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Shower and wash hair after being outside to remove ticks before they attach.
- Remove any ticks you find right away.
How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted
Ticks usually live in woods or tall grasslands in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Ticks can become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi by feeding on infected wild animals, and then can spread the bacteria when they feed on blood from the host. Ticks cannot fly – they hang onto small bushes or tall grasses and are usually found close to the ground. They wait for an animal or person to pass near them and when the animal or person makes contact, the ticks attach themselves to the skin to feed.
In North America, Lyme disease is transmitted mainly by two species of ticks:
- Blacklegged tick , Ixodes scapularis.
- Western blacklegged tick, Ixodes pacificus.
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that there no evidence that Lyme disease can spread from person-to-person. Pets, especially dogs, can get Lyme disease, but there is no evidence that pets can spread the infection directly to humans. They may, however, carry infected ticks into the home or yard which may increase the chance of transmission.
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The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
How To Deal With A Lyme Disease Diagnosis
If you have recently received a Lyme disease diagnosis, it is important not to allow yourself to begin thinking the worst. Here are some things to keep in mind about a Lyme disease diagnosis and what your next move should be.
First, people do not always get Lyme disease because they are careless. In fact, you could have been infected with Lyme disease for several reasons. The important thing is that you have received a Lyme disease diagnosis and that you will soon be undergoing treatments that will help to correct the situation. For this reason, do not dwell on what you could have done differently instead, focus on getting the treatment you need.
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