What’s The Best Way To Prevent A Tick Bite
Ticks can’t fly or jump. But they live in shrubs and bushes and can grab onto you when you pass by. To avoid getting bitten:
- Wear pants and socks in areas with lots of trees and when you touch fallen leaves.
- Wear a tick repellent on your skin and clothing that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus.
- For even more protection, use the chemical permethrin on clothing and camping gear.
- Shower within 2 hours after coming inside. Look for ticks on your skin, and wash ticks out of your hair.
- Put your clothing and any exposed gear into a hot dryer to kill whatever pests might be on them.
How do you know if you’ve been bitten?
Since ticks are so small, you’ve got to have pretty good eyes to see them.
If you have a small, red bump on your skin that looks like a mosquito bite, it could be a tick bite. If it goes away in a few days, itâs not a problem. Remember, a tick bite doesnât necessarily mean you have Lyme disease.
If you notice a rash in the shape of a bull’s-eye, you might have a tick bite. Talk to your doctor about treatment.
If you have an allergic reaction to ticks, you’ll notice a bite right away.
Early Disseminatedstage Lyme Disease
This stage begins when the bacteria spread through the body. This stage can begin days to weeks after the spot first appears.
Fatigue, chills, fever, headaches, stiff neck, muscle aches, and painful, swollen joints are common. These symptoms of Lyme disease may last for weeks. In nearly half of people who are not treated, more, usually smaller erythema migrans spots appear on other parts of the body. Less commonly, people have a backache, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and an enlarged spleen.
Although most symptoms come and go, feelings of illness and fatigue may last for weeks. These symptoms are often mistaken for influenza or common viral infections, especially if erythema migrans is not present.
Sometimes more serious symptoms develop. The nervous system is affected in about 15% of people. Common problems are meningitis and Bell palsy .
These problems may last for months. Nerve pain and weakness may develop in other areas and last longer.
Up to 8% of infected people develop heart problems. These problems include
- Delayed movement of electrical signals through the heart, resulting in an abnormal heart rhythm called heart block
- Inflammation of heart tissue and the sac around the heart with chest pain
The arrhythmias may cause palpitations, light-headedness, or fainting.
Lyme Disease Is A Tick
This bacterial infection is caused when an infected deer tick, also known as the blacklegged tick, bites you and stays attached for 36 to 48 hours. According to WebMD, if the tick is removed within 48 hours, Lyme disease infection will probably not occur.
People who spend time outdoors campers, hikers, gardeners, cyclists, and more are at greater risk of being bitten by a tick and experiencing a tick-borne disease such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, or Alpha-gal Syndrome.
In 2003, a case of Lyme disease left multi-award winner Shania Twain unable to sing.
I may never sing again.
Multi-award winning singer Shania Twain faced those words over and over again as she fought to regain use of her singing voice after a 2003 diagnosis of Lyme disease.
As mentioned, Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. Typical symptoms include the flu-like symptoms of fever, headache, and fatigue.
A skin rash called erythema migrans occurs in 70 to 80 percent of infected persons. The rash begins at the site of the tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days. It may feel warm to the touch, but is rarely itchy or painful, so the rash is often difficult to detect. The rash expands gradually over a period of days, reaching a diameter of up to 12 inches or more. As the rash expands, it may form a characteristic bulls-eye appearance.
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B Burgdorferi Products Required For Mammalian Infection
Efforts to identify B. burgdorferi products that play roles in mammalian infection began by serially passaging strains in culture and correlating loss of infectivity with loss of specific plasmids . As genetic techniques have become available for B. burgdorferi analysis, other approaches have been applied to identifying genes that contribute to mammalian infectivity and the roles of some such genes have been rigorously defined by inactivation and restoration . The products of these genes can be divided into ones that play physiological roles and those that contribute to survival in the face of other aspects of the host environment, including normal defenses. Since B. burgdorferi has a limited biosynthetic capability, the bacteria rely on their host for many nutrients that other bacteria can synthesize. Some enzymes shown to be crucial for bacterial survival in a mammalian host include PncA, a nicotinamidase involved in production of NAD , and two products involved in purine nucleotide synthesis . Another unusual feature of B. burgdorferi is that it does not contain intracellular iron and, hence, does not use iron as a co-factor for enzymes , thereby facilitating survival in the iron-poor mammalian environment.
What Are The Subtypes Of Lyme Disease
There are different types of Borrelia in each continent resulting in various forms of Lyme disease in North America and Europe.
In North America, the infection is due to the subspecies B. burgdorferi sensu stricto and most often presents as:
- Erythema migrans
- Lyme arthritis
In Europe, Lyme disease is due to the subspecies B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. afzelii and B. garinii, and most often presents as:
- Erythema migrans
- Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans
- Lyme neuroborreliosis.
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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?
How Has Lyme Disease Expanded Since Its First Discovery
Lyme disease, was first discovered in the United States in Lyme, Connecticut, in the mid-1970s and is now the most common US vector-borne disease. The estimated cumulative number of Americans struggling with chronic symptoms relating to Lyme disease may be as high as 1.9 million in 2020.
The number of new cases in the US exceeds 476,000 a year.
Lyme disease is spreading geographically and is hyper-endemic in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, upper Great Lakes region, and west coast. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease have been found in half of all US counties. Lyme disease is a worldwide health epidemic and a growing problem in regions such as Canada, Europe, and Asia.
Lyme disease is spreading geographically, as illustrated by the CDC maps below.
Reported Cases of Lyme Disease- United States, 2018
Note that Massachusetts, an endemic state, is no longer reporting Lyme Disease cases
Reported Cases of Lyme Disease- United States, 2001
Ticks that Transmit Lyme Disease are spreading geographically and are found in half of US Counties.
Map A shows tick distributions 1907-1996. Map B shows 1907-2015.
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What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.
The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.
If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.
When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme
The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.
If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.
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Lyme Disease Is Very Dangerous Because You Have A Very Short Window To Catch It And Treat It
is very dangerous because you have a very short window to catch it and then treat it and then even when you treat it, you could still very well be left with effects, which is what happened to me, Shania said in her Canadian Press interview. Normally it can attack your nervous system or the vital organs heart, liver, kidneys, nervous system. Its a debilitating disease and extremely dangerous. You cant play around with it, so youve got to check yourself for ticks.
Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
to take a sample of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord . Fragments of the bacteriaâs genetic material may be present and detected using the polymerase chain reaction technique Polymerase chain reaction Genetic diagnostic technologies are scientific methods that are used to understand and evaluate an organism’s genes. Genes are segments of deoxyribonucleic… read more . This technique produces many copies of a gene and enables doctors to identify Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria rapidly.
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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:
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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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 Do I Do If I Find A Tick On My Skin
Dont panic. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible. Pull up with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick body. Sometimes parts of the tick remain in the skin. You can leave them alone or carefully remove them the same way you would a splinter. Do not use heat , petroleum jelly, or other methods to try to make the tick back out on its own. These methods are not effective.
Wash the area where the tick was attached thoroughly with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area for a few weeks and note any changes. Call your doctor if you develop a rash around the area where the tick was attached. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened.
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What Happens After A Tick Bite
Ticks can attach and feed in any part of the human body. The bite is painless. Because they are very tiny nymph bites are often overlooked. Borrelia are transmitted from the midgut of the infected tick to the attached skin when attachment lasts for 3648 hours.
Several things can happen after being bitten by an infected tick.
- The body’s defence mechanisms can overwhelm and eliminate the infecting bacteria.
- The bacteria can remain localised at the site of the bite and cause a localised skin infection.
- The bacteria may disseminate via the blood and lymphatic system to other organs and cause a multisysteminflammatory disease.
Living With Lyme Disease
Most people treated in the early stages of Lyme disease make a quick and complete recovery. Some may experience symptoms for a few weeks after treatment. If you were treated for Lyme disease but you still dont feel well, call your family doctor. He or she can make sure there isnt something else wrong. They can help you find ways to ease your symptoms. Some patients have found relief with treatments typically used for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
Other things you can do to help manage Lyme disease include:
- Educate yourself.There is a lot of inaccurate information to be sorted through, especially on the internet. Ask your doctor if you have questions.
- Track your symptoms.Keep a diary of your sleep patterns, eating habits, exercise routines, and how youre feeling. You or your doctor may be able to make connections between them.
- Take care of yourself.Eat a healthy diet. Exercise as regularly as you can. Get plenty of rest.
Find support. It can be hard to not feel well and not know why. Some people may think your symptoms arent real. Talk to friends and family. If they cant offer support, talk with a counselor who can help you.
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Risk Factors For Post
Youre at a greater risk for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome if youre infected by the bite of a diseased tick. If the infection progresses to the chronic stage, your symptoms might continue for weeks, months, or even years after the initial tick bite.
You may also be at a higher risk for these long-term symptoms if youre not treated with the recommended antibiotics. However, even people who receive antibiotic therapy are at risk. Because the cause of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is unknown, theres no way to determine whether it will progress to the chronic stage.
Typically, the symptoms of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome resemble those that occur in earlier stages. People with persistent symptoms often experience lingering episodes of:
Genome And Molecular Genetics Of B Burgdorferi
Although the underlying genetic traits contributing to the differences in disease have not been identified, the release of three Borrelia genome sequences should aid in this endeavor . These genomes have several common features, including a linear chromosome and a large number of smaller DNA molecules , some of which are linear and others circular . The linear structure of the chromosome and many of the plasmids is unusual in the bacterial world, although the evolutionary advantage of this form of DNA is unknown. However, it likely confers some benefit to the genus Borrelia, as all characterized members retain linear DNA molecules.
Despite the atypical DNA form, the majority of genes encoded on the B. burgdorferi chromosome are commonly found in other bacterial genomes . The genes encoded on the plasmid component of the genome are less recognizable and the majority of these appear to be unique to the genus Borrelia . Additionally, several plasmid-encoded genes have been shown to be required for infectivity or persistence in the tick or the mammalian host .
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How Is It Transmitted
Lyme disease is normally transmitted to humans via nymphal stage ticks. Before biting a human, a tick which carries Lyme disease will have fed off a deer or other animal which is carrying the Lyme virus-like mice, rodents, horses, dogs, or sometimes cows. Due to their size about the size of a poppy seed these ticks are able to feed off a host for a long period of time and frequently go unnoticed.
How Do I Know If I Have Lyme Disease
Referred to as the great imitator, Lyme disease can look like many other illnesses. Many patients have been diagnosed with other illnesses, only to later discover that they have Lyme disease that could have been treated sooner. Because of this, we suggest that you receive treatment from an LLMD, especially if you feel as if your current treatment is ineffective.
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Medical Research For Lyme Disease
Research groups worldwide explore causes and cures for Lyme disease. Additionally, work is being done to develop improved diagnostic test kits for this condition. PlasmaLab International in Everett, WA, provides researchers with antibody-rich plasma collected from individuals recently diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Have you recently been diagnosed with Lyme disease? Are you interested in participating in PlasmaLabs compensated research program? Please call 425-258-3653 to learn how you can support medical research or fill out our online application. We will contact you by email within 48 business hours of receiving your application.