Lyme Disease Symptoms And Causes
The Most Common Lyme Disease Symptoms:
Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that is transmitted by the tick or insect can spread throughout the body and cause a series of autoimmune-like reactions. Research done by the Department of Rheumatology at University of Würzburg in Germany shows that symptoms of Lyme disease are far-reaching and commonly affect the skin, heart, joints and nervous system.
Symptoms and signs of Lyme disease include:
- A temporary butterfly skin rash that appears where the tick bite occurred . Many, but not all, develop a rash shaped like a bulls eye that appears as a red ring around a clear area with a red center. The CDC reports that around 70 percent of Lyme disease patients develop this rash
- Flu-like symptoms, especially shortly after being infected. These include a fever, trouble sleeping, neck pain, fatigue, chills, sweats and muscle aches
- Poor sleep, chronic fatigue and lethargy
- Digestive issues, including nausea and loss of appetite
- Achiness and joint pains. The CDC has found that around 30 percent of Lyme patients develop symptoms of arthritis
- Long-term many people experience mood changes, included increased depression and fatigue
- Cognitive changes are also a long-term symptom and include forgetfulness, headaches, brain fog, misplacing things and trouble concentrating
The REAL Cause of Lyme Disease:
What Are The Roles Of Other Animals In Lyme Disease Transmission
|Deer are not directly involved with Lyme disease transmission. However, they are the preferred host of the adult blacklegged tick and are therefore important in maintaining tick populations.|
|Dogs are susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases like Lyme disease. Lyme disease infections in dogs are not a significant risk factor for human infection because dogs are considered “dead-end” hosts for the bacteria . However, dogs can bring infected ticks into the home.|
|Rodents, especially deer mice and white-footed mice are important hosts for Lyme disease pathogens. Juvenile ticks become infected with Lyme disease bacteria when they feed on infected mice. The ticks may then pass the infection on to future hosts, including humans and pets.|
|Ticks, specifically the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, acquire Lyme disease bacteria from rodents.|
The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
In British Columbia, this tick occurs in the interior dry belt from the United States border north as far as Williams Lake and eastward into Alberta. It is not found west of the Coast Range mountains. The Rocky Mountain wood tick is a three-host tick, a new host being sought for each one of its three feedings which occur over a period of 1 to 3 years. Usually rodents and other small animals serve for the first two feedings, and large animals such as deer, cattle, dogs, sheep and humans serve as the host for the last feeding. This tick is most frequently encountered between March and June, usually in open, rocky areas.
|Rocky mountain wood tick female|
Although the Rocky Mountain wood tick is a known carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Colorado tick fever in the United States, these diseases rarely occur in Canada. However, in British Columbia and western USA this tick causes tick paralysis in mammals, including humans and livestock, which is caused by a neurotoxin in tick saliva.
|Life Cycle of Dermacentor andersoni|
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How To Prevent Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disorder in the United States. It can affect your joints, nervous system, heart, skin, and eyes. It’s transmitted through the bites of certain species of ticks known as black-legged or deer ticks. Adult deer ticks are about the size of sesame seeds and nymphal ticks can be the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
Reducing exposure to ticks is your best defense against contracting Lyme disease. There are a variety of methods you can use to prevent and control Lyme disease.
How Can You Reduce Tick Habitats Near Your Home
Here are some ways to limit exposure to ticks near your home:
- Mow the lawn regularly to keep the grass short
- Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around stonewalls and woodpiles
- Stack firewood neatly and in a dry area
- Put barriers to exclude deer around your home and seal stonewalls and small openings to discourage rodent activity
- Place children’s recreational playground sets, patios and decks away from the yard edges and trees. Place them on a woodchip or mulch foundation and in a sunny location, if possible.
- Treat pets that are commonly exposed to ticks with oral or topic acaricides as they could carry ticks into the home
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Try Using Natural Tick Repellents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does recommend using insect repellent containing a minimum of 20% DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin or products with 0.5% permetrin on clothing and shoes. However, there are a few much gentler and healthier natural tick repellents that are worth trying if you want to avoid harsh chemicals. These are readily available at your local health food store or even grocery store. It should be noted that natural products are not always registered with the EPA for effectiveness, but they are noted as effective by the CDC.
Who Is Most At Risk
Your risk of Lyme disease may be higher if you:
- Spend time in heavily wooded areas where there are ticks
- Spend time outdoors in summer and fall
- Are young, children and young adults are more likely to get Lyme disease.
- Live in the coastal northeast, as well as in Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and Oregon, where the majority of cases show up
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
To make a diagnosis, your health care provider will consider:
- Your symptoms
- How likely it is that you were exposed to infected blacklegged ticks
- The possibility that other illnesses may cause similar symptoms
- Results of any lab tests
Most Lyme disease tests check for antibodies made by the body in response to infection. These antibodies can take several weeks to develop. If you are tested right away, it may not show that you have Lyme disease, even if you have it. So you may need to have another test later.
Ways To Prevent Ticks Naturally
By Bethany Johnson in Natural Products
Recently, I was at the pediatrician and asked our kids doctor about the upward trend in Lyme disease. Ive always been smart to prevent ticks on my own person, but now that Im in charge of other little bodies, Im hypersensitive to stories about Lyme disease.
I realized, that as a mom, I already have the upper hand on tick prevention.
In the meantime, weve also been making our own small, personal steps to be greener. So I didnt want to stock up on industrial bug spray if there was a better way. Thankfully, theres not just one natural way to prevent ticks there are dozens! And Im proud to report they have actually worked for us. In fact, after researching and using natural tick prevention methods, I havent seen a single tick on any of my family members in over six years.
Here are my top six ways to prevent tick bites naturally:
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Perform Tick Checks After Coming In From The Out Of Doors And Showering
- The risk of getting Lyme disease is greater the longer a tick is attached. Therefore, doing tick checks is important so they can be removed before they transmit Lyme disease.
- Shower daily.
- Common sites of attachment: behind knees, underarm, scalp, navel, groin, buttocks, back.
The most important thing is to get ticks off of you before they attach and have the chance to transmit Lyme disease.
Tick checks are performed two ways:
- Physical Inspections or feeling for ticks, because ticks are very small, and sometimes arent seen. By feeling for ticks, you may discover ticks that are in hidden areas, such as behind your knee or in your armpit, where you wouldnt be able to easily see them.
- Visual inspections should be done as well, looking for the very small pinpoint-sized dark specks that are the nymph stage ticks present at this time of the year.
You may need help from somebody to look on your back for ticks. Parents should inspect their childs entire body daily for ticks.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can affect different body systems, such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. The symptoms of Lyme disease are often described as happening in three stages. Not everyone with Lyme has all of these, though:
The rash sometimes has a “bull’s-eye” appearance, with a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It also can appear as an growing ring of solid redness. It’s usually flat and painless, but sometimes can be warm to the touch, itchy, scaly, burning, or prickling. The rash may look and feel very different from one person to the next. It can be harder to see on people with darker skin tones, where it can look like a bruise. It gets bigger for a few days to weeks, then goes away on its own. A person also may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headache, and muscle aches.
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A Tick Thats Attached To The Skin Heres What Should You Do
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease but it still can be unsettling. Visit the Center for Disease Controls website for more information on removing ticks safely and next steps.
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She has been a writer for the Farmers’ Almanac since 2004.
- Deborah Tukua
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Early symptoms of Lyme disease typically begin three to 30 days after a tick bite and can include:
- Erythema migrans rash
- Joint pain
Many of these symptoms are not specific to Lyme disease and can be caused by a variety of different factors. However, the erythema migrans rash is often characteristic of Lyme disease. This is a rash that often begins at the site of the tick bite and gradually expands. The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, giving it the appearance of a bull’s eye or target. The rash usually appears within seven to 14 days after the tick bite. The rash may be warm, but it is usually not painful or itchy. See on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‘s website.
While the EM rash is commonly associated with Lyme disease, not everyone infected with Lyme bacteria will develop a rash. About 30 percent of confirmed cases of Lyme disease reported to the CDC do not have an EM rash at the time of their diagnosis. These cases report joint pain and/or joint swelling at the time of their diagnosis more frequently than cases with an EM rash. For more information, see CDC’s Lyme disease signs and symptoms.
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Herbs For Lyme Disease Treatment
Herbs have been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years. Many people have turned to herbal remedies to help provide relief from Lyme disease when antibiotics didn’t completely help eliminate symptoms.
One research study found that a combination of doxycycline and baicalein provides additional healing benefits. According to a 2020 laboratory study, seven herbal medicines have been shown to kill B. burgdorferi in test tubes:
- Cryptolepis sanguinolenta
- Scutellaria baicalensis
Garlic has antibacterial effects and may help prevent tick bites. One study determined that people who took garlic supplements reported fewer tick bites than the placebo group. Garlic essential oil has been shown to eliminate the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Garlic can interact with certain medications, so speak with your healthcare provider before using it to prevent or treat Lyme disease.
Steviaa natural sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plantmay be effective in treating Lyme disease. A study published in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology discovered that stevia extracts are more effective in killing Lyme disease bacterium in the lab than the standard antibiotics.
How Can I Protect Myself From Lyme Disease
There is a risk of encountering ticks in PEI. The following measures should be taken to prevent being bitten by a tick:
- Cover up if there is a possibility of exposure to ticks in the area. Wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants with the legs tucked into socks. Wear light-coloured clothing.
- Insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin are recommended. Repellents can be applied to clothing as well as exposed skin.
- Daily full body checks for ticks should be performed. Ticks attach themselves to the skin so finding and removing them early prevents infection. Children and pets should be checked for ticks as well.
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The Truth About Ticks
As much as the media tries to scare you about the dangers of ticks and being bitten by a tick, the truth is, the risk of acquiring a tick-borne infection is quite low. Not all ticks have been infected. And even if the tick has been attached, fed, and is actually carrying an infectious agent, the risk of getting a tick-borne infection is still very low.
Ticks transmit infection only after they have attached and then taken a blood meal from their new host. A tick that has not attached has not passed any infection. Since the deer tick that transmits Lyme disease must feed for > 36 hours before transmission of the spirochete, the risk of acquiring Lyme disease from an observed tick bite, for example, is only 1.2 to 1.4 percent, even in an area where the disease is common. In other words, theres an extremely high percentage that you have absolutely nothing to worry about even if you get bitten by a tick.
What To Do If You Get A Tick Bite
If you do fall prey to a tick bite, youll want to take care of the wound properly. The CDC gives guidelines for how to properly remove a tick here.
After removing the tick, place it in a plastic baggie to send off for testing. Testing isnt always 100% accurate and often can take a long time to get results, but from my research, there are some facilities that claim fast, accurate results . If youre in this position, Id research the companies well to see if theyre a good fit for you. Also, keep in mind that some health departments test ticks, but Im not sure if they test specifically for the Lyme disease bacteria. Youd have to call and ask that yourself.
Once the tick is removed you can then apply lavender essential oil to the bite every 5 minutes for half an hour .
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Other Natural Treatments For Lyme Disease
The treatments discussed above are only some of the natural treatments that claim to treat Lyme disease. According to a 2015 study looking at the alternative treatments found during an Internet search, other natural treatments people use for Lyme disease include:
- saunas and steam rooms
- bee venom
The investigators noted that theres no research backing up these treatments, any many dont have a logical rationale behind them.
How Herbal Supplements Can Help
The best way to gain the level of phytochemical protection you need to help your immune system win the internal battle against invasive microbes is to take herbal supplements specifically, standardized botanical extracts.
Standardized botanical extracts take herbal supplements to the next level. Theyre made with wild plants or plants that have been cultivated to enhance their phytochemical content and are grown in an environment that doesnt introduce unwanted chemical toxins. The extraction process also yields the greatest concentration and the widest spectrum of phytochemicals in the plant. And the final product is standardized to a concentration of one or several key phytochemicals in the plant, so you know what youre getting.
Below are a few of my favorite herbs for mitigating the systemic chronic inflammation associated with chronic Lyme disease. Though all of the herbs have value in suppressing microbes and reducing inflammation, three of the herbs mentioned below Japanese knotweed, cats claw, and Chinese skullcap were found in a 2020 study from Johns Hopkins University to have greater activity against Borrelia burgdorferi than the antibiotics, doxycycline and azithromycin.
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Perform Daily Tick Checks
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Search your entire body for ticks when you return from an area that may have ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your childs body for ticks:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside the belly button
- In and around all head and body hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
Check your clothing and pets for ticks because they may carry ticks into the house. Check clothes and pets carefully and remove any ticks that are found. Place clothes into a dryer on high heat to kill ticks.