What is Lyme Disease

What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Borreliosis is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick (all species), fleas, biting flies, red ants in the south & mosquitoes. . The bacterial spirochete can invade and infect any organ in humans and animals. If not diagnosed early, if left untreated or not treated adequately, it may develop into debilitating arthritic, cardiac, neurological, digestive, or psychiatric conditions. It can cause long-term disability or can even be fatal. It can cross the placenta into the fetus, and it’s DNA can be found in breast milk. It is called the ―Great Imitator for it mimics other diseases such as: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or an array of mental disorders.

Signs and Symptoms

Early Stage: Symptoms may appear from 48 hours to several weeks after an infected tick bite:

• Flu like symptoms - fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headache, fever, chills, swollen glands, sore throat, stiff neck

• Only 1/3 of infected people may have a rash

Chronic or Late Stage: Symptoms may occur weeks, months, and even years after the bite and the symptoms may come and go. Peak disease is associated with increasing numbers of spirochetes in the tissues while regression follows the antibody response. It is very cyclic and fluctuates in intensity so that symptoms are present on some days and not on others.

• Continued flu-like symptoms with swollen glands, low grade fevers

• Depression, psychiatric disorders

• Sensitivity to lights, sounds, motion, odors, blurred vision, or loss of sight

• Cognitive dysfunction, difficulty organizing or making decisions, memory loss

• Muscle pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, motor dysfunction, and paralysis

• Stiff neck, severe headaches, loss of balance, dizziness, poor coordination, Bell’s palsy

• Irregular heartbeat, palpitations, heart block, chest pain, difficulty breathing

  · Tremors, seizures, panic attacks anxiety, sleep disorders, swollen joints
 
Protection:
Perform frequent, thorough tick checks – especially the scalp area
  • Wear light colored clothes
  • Tuck pants into socks or put duct tape around the cuffs
  •  Put clothes into dryer for 30 minutes to kill ticks – washing clothes will not kill ticks!
  • There are products containing DEET for skin – chil-dren 2 months old and older, use a 10% concentration but do not apply to face or hands – adults use 12-25% maximum
  • There are products containing Permethrin for clothes—do not use on children—is a very effective product for adults and recommended for hunters.
  • Consider using new DEET free repellents 1-800-219-9765 for 30-45 minute effectiveness (ask for Beat It bug spray)

Tick Removal:

  • Do not burn or use any sub-stance on tick
  • Do not grasp, squeeze, or twist the body of tick
  • Grasp tick’s head close to skin with tweezers
  • Pull tick straight out
  • See a physician if unable to remove the whole tick
  • Use antiseptic on skin
  • Disinfect tweezers
  • Wash hands thoroughly
  • Always see a physician for possible diagnosis, testing and treatment—watch for flu-like symptoms or rash
  • Hunters: Beware of additional precautions needed to avoid contact from ticks on game. Remove game from field with a tarp. Hang game over bleach solution for ticks to fall into. Wear plastic apron and gloves when cleaning game.
More Information on Lyme disease &Support Groups in Your Area
Call Lyme Disease United Coalition (LDUC): (800) 311-7518
 
Physician Training or Inquiries:
International Lyme & Associated Disease Society (ILADS) - www.ilads.org.

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