A nasty little bacterium by the name of Borrelia burgdorferi which resides in the deer tick is the cause of Lyme disease. While this deer tick attaches primarily on small mammals and deer, depending on the circumstances, humans and their pets are also at risk. It is estimated that about thousands of people every year are afflicted with Lyme disease.
While the deer tick does cause a variety of other illnesses in humans, the amount is statistically insignificant. Those people who contract an illness other than Lyme disease will typically show signs of fever, muscle pain, headache and even chills. However, simple antibiotic therapy brings relief.
Scientists believe that deer ticks usually have to be latched onto the skin for several days in order to pass along the infection for Lyme disease. Most tick bites can be avoided by proper precautions such as wearing boots with pants tucked into them as well as long sleeved shirts and insect repellent.
However, despite these precautions, thousands of people every year still get Lyme disease. This infection can be found practically all over the US although the concentration of cases lies in the New England coastal states as well as Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Mid-Atlantic States.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
A large red rash surrounding the tick bite site is a typical symptom that is most representative of people who get Lyme disease. Other symptoms include muscle pain and aching joints. The average time for symptoms to become evident is around 10 days although they could occur as early as four days or as late as a month. In addition, not everyone gets the tell-tale rash, so sometimes, Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed.
In rare cases, Lyme disease can cause arthritis, slow heart rate and even neurological problems such as facial paralysis. Because other illnesses can present the same symptoms, the red rash is the best indicator of the disease. Otherwise, the doctor has to play detective by asking the patients history such as where they have traveled recently and so forth. Of course, a lab test can also identify the problem.
Treatment of Lyme disease
A course of antibiotics is usually effective in treating Lyme disease and can last anywhere from ten days to a month. The majority of people diagnosed and treated promptly can expect a cure after a few weeks of antibiotics. Very few people develop complications of Lyme disease and doctors might assume that other infections or a misdiagnosis has occurred for those few who dont adequately respond to antibiotic therapy.
Overall, Lyme disease can be avoided by taking the proper precautions listed earlier. When you are anticipating an outdoor adventure such as hiking or walking nature trails, always protect yourself with the proper insect repellant as well as the proper clothing. When you stop back at camp or your car, inspect your body as well as others with you to try and find any ticks. The deer ticks that cause Lyme disease are rather small and many people do not feel them at all. Therefore, self-inspection and getting help inspecting your body for any ticks is important and can prevent disease.