Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that occurs when a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, bites you and stays attached for 36 to 48 hours, causing you to get sick. Removing the tick as soon as possible once it is discovered, helps to avoid being infected with Lyme disease in most cases.
If you get sick, the bacteria that cause the illness spread throughout your body via your bloodstream, causing damage to different tissues all over the body. In order to avoid developing into an inflammatory illness that affects many systems, starting with the skin, joints, and nervous system and progressing to the organs, it is critical to identify and treat Lyme disease as soon as it is discovered.
It is important to note that the kind of tick that bit you, your location at the time the tick bit you, and the length of time the insect stayed connected to you all affect your odds of getting Lyme disease as a result of being bitten by a tick. Those who reside in the Northeastern United States are at higher risk of contracting Lyme disease than those who do not. As a tourist attraction, the upper Midwest is also well-represented. People in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are now affected by the illness, which was previously only seen in California.
Lyme disease, which is common in the United States, is caused by the bacteria B. mayonii and B. burgdorferi, which are mostly transmitted by black-legged or deer ticks. Brown ticks are sometimes as little as a poppy seed when they are young, making them almost impossible to detect.
To acquire Lyme disease, you must be bitten by a deer tick that has been infected with the disease. The germs infiltrate your skin as a result of the bite and eventually enter your bloodstream.
In most cases, a deer tick must stay attached for 36 to 48 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease. An attached tick that seems to be bloated has eaten for a long period of time to transmit germs. It is possible that getting rid of the tick as soon as possible may assist you avoid becoming sick.
Patients with Lyme disease may have a variety of symptoms that range from mild to severe depending on their individual circumstances. However, despite the fact that symptoms of Lyme disease are usually separated into three phases (“early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated”) symptoms may overlap. It is also possible that some patients may present at a later stage of the disease and will have no signs or symptoms of the previous sickness.
Some of the more frequent Lyme disease symptoms include the following:
· Appearance of circular rash that appears like a red oval or bull’s-eye
· Joint discomfort and swelling
· Muscular aches and pains
· Headache, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes
· Sleep disturbances
· Problem with concentration
Lyme disease symptoms in children are usually the same as those experienced by adults.
They often suffer the following symptoms:
· Joint and muscular discomfort
· Fever and other flu-like symptoms
These symptoms may appear immediately after the infection, or they may appear months or years later.
Your doctor will investigate your health history for the diagnosis of Lyme disease, which involves the testing of tick bites or investigating living in an endemic region.
A physical exam is conducted by your healthcare practitioner to identify whether you have a rash or any other symptoms of Lyme disease.
Testing in the early stages of a localized disease is not advised.
When antibodies are detectable in the body, blood tests are the most accurate a few days after the original infection. The following tests may be recommended by your healthcare provider:
· ELISA: Antibodies against B. burgdorferi are detected using the ELISA method.
· Western blot: An ELISA test which is positive is confirmed by a Western blot. It is performed on a separate day. It examines the existence of antibodies to particular B. burgdorferi proteins in the blood.
· PCR: Individuals who have chronic nervous system symptoms or Lyme arthritis may be evaluated using PCR techniques. It is carried out on joint fluid or cerebrospinal fluid, depending on the situation (CSF). Because of the poor sensitivity of PCR testing on CSF for the diagnosis of Lyme disease, it is not commonly suggested. A negative test result does not rule out the possibility of the diagnosis. In contrast, if joint fluid is examined prior to antibiotic treatment, the vast majority of individuals will have positive PCR findings.
It is important to take preventive measures against the infection. Lyme disease prevention is primarily concerned with lowering your chances of being a victim of a tick bite.
Take the following precautions to avoid being bitten by ticks:
· Insect repellent should be used.
· Ticks should be checked on your children, pets, and yourself.
· Ticks should be removed using tweezers.
You will require treatment in the early stages of Lyme disease for 10 days-3 weeks. The most often recommended medications include antibiotics. If the first round of therapy fails, further antibiotics will be given either orally or through an injection.
You may need to take oral medicine to alleviate symptoms, like weaker facial muscles contraction and irregular heartbeat. You may need antibiotics if you have inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, meningitis, or serious cardiac issues.
Your doctor may give antibiotics, either orally or through an injection, if your Lyme disease has advanced to a late stage. You will get arthritis treatment depending on whether or not it develops arthritis.
There is presently no therapy for Lyme disease syndrome post treatment.
When to see a doctor
Consult your doctor if you have been bitten by a tick or if you have visited an area where infected ticks have been discovered within the last three months. If you have flu-like symptoms such as feeling feverish and shivery, aching muscles, headaches, or feeling nauseous, or if you develop a rash in a round or oval form, it is critical that you see a doctor.