The incidence of Lyme Disease in the U.S. has doubled since 1991 and over 30,000 people are affected each year.
Outdoor activity that increases possible tick exposure such as walking in high grasses when hunting or hiking Pets may also carry infected ticks home. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is carried by deer ticks (also known as Blacklegged ticks) These ticks are very small so they may not be seen or felt. The tick must be attached to your body for 24-36 hours to spread the bacteria.
There are three stages:
1) - Bacteria is localized to the site of the tick bite
Symptoms: fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, stiff neck
When: days or weeks after infection
2) - Bacteria has begun to spread throughout the body
Symptoms: numbness of pain in nerve area, paralysis or weakness in face, chest pain or shortness of breath
When: weeks to months after the bite
3) - Bacteria has spread throughout the body
Symptoms: abnormal muscle movement, joint swelling, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling, speech difficulty, cognitive issues
When: can occur months or years after infection
- Exams and Tests:
· Blood test can be done to check for antibodies
· MD may also want to include EKG, MRI of brain and spinal tap
· Close observation for at least 30 days to see if rash or other symptoms develop
· A single dose of the antibiotic may be given shortly after bite
· A 10 day to 4 week course of antibiotics may be used if Lyme Disease is present.
· Wear light-colored clothing in order to see ticks easier
· Wear long sleeves and long pants
· Use insect repellent
· After possible exposure, remove clothes and thoroughly inspect all skin · Shower as soon as possible
· Grasp tick close to head with tweezers. DO NOT use bare fingers
· Pull it straight out with a slow and steady motion
· Cleanse area thoroughly
· Save tick in a jar
· Watch area carefully for two weeks
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