Lyme disease can be explained as a ‘tick borne disease’ as the bacteria causing the disease, which is ‘Borelia Bergdorferi’, is transmitted through blacklegged ticks and these ticks are found to be infesting areas which are wooded, have high grass as well as bushes and where lots of deer and rats as present.
The disease is characterized by the manifestations of fever, malaise, body aches and rashes. The rash would be characteristic in its appearance and tends to manifest initially at the bite site. Over few days, the rash can enlarge gradually and will appear as a characteristic ‘bulls eye’ appearance as the center of the rash teds to heal while the peripheries are still spreading. The rash can enlarge to almost 12 inches in diameter and there is a possibility that the rash can appear in other parts of the body as well. Apart from the rash, the patient can also show signs of enlarged lymph nodes and if proper treatment is not initiated, the disease can spread towards vital structures such as the heart, nerves…etc.
When initiating treatment, it should be started early and it will be a course of antibiotics lasting for about 2 weeks. In most instances, the first line of antibiotics to be used is doxycycline, amoxicillin and cefuroxime axcetil. The Center for Disease Control states that in cases of the disease being spread to other vital structures, it might necessitate giving intravenous antibiotics rather than giving oral antibiotics.
The center also advocates that, in recurrent infestations or else persisting symptoms, the patients will be benefitted through a second course of 4 weeks long antibiotic treatment and in all circumstances, starting the treatment early would give complete cure in most instances.
When talking about the prevention of Lyme disease, the CDC recommends the following measures.
*Avoid bushy areas with tall grass and heavy leaf litter.
*Take precautions in months of May, June and July as this is the season which see a rise in the tick population.
*Wear long sleeves and long legged trousers along with boots in order to prevent the skin from getting exposed to such ticks.
*Always tuck the shirts under the trouser as to prevent the ticks from reaching inside the clothing.
*Wear socks to prevent the ticks from getting into contact with the skin and wearing light colored clothing will enable easy detection of such ticks.
*Use insect repellents in the form of skin applications and sprays to the clothing. 20 – 30% DEET containing repellents can be used to cover areas of exposed skin as well as the clothing.
*Permethrin is another repellent used in preventing tick bites and it should not be applied directly to the skin but should only be applied to the clothing.
*Always perform a daily tick check as well as following returning from bushy areas. Such checks would make the detection of ticks easier and would prevent the ticks from transmitting the disease as it needs to be present on the skin for at least 24 hours to do this.
When you are planning on going for camping or hiking, it’s best to obtain information regarding the prevalence and areas to avoid with regard to this disease condition from the local health department. Thus, being informed and taking the maximum precautions will allow a person to enjoy the great outdoors without the risk of being infected with lyme disease.