Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that can affect human beings as well as animals. The bacterium that causes this disease is known as borrelia burgdorferi, which can be found in certain ticks. Lyme disease is transmitted when these ticks bite the skin of a person or an animal, and it will cause symptoms such as fever, rash, body aches, weakness, swelling of joints, and even temporary paralysis.
The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are mostly found in deer ticks. These ticks are brown in color, and they are about the size of a pin’s head. As they suck on the blood of human beings or animals, they will increase in size by several times. The animals that are usually targeted by deer ticks are small birds, mice, and deer, but dogs, cats, horses, and human beings can attract such ticks too. Deer ticks are usually found in wooded areas, where they live in tall grasses and bushes. When warm-blooded animals pass by, they will cling on to them and feed on their blood. It is during summer that deer ticks are most active.
One of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash called erythema migrans, which can be found in about 80% of those who are infected. A small reddish bump will appear several days or weeks after a person or animal has been bitten by an infected tick. After it appears for a few days, the rash will expand in size. In extreme cases, it may cover an area that measures 12 inches across. Along with the rash, the infected person or animal may also get flu-like symptoms, such as fever, body aches, weakness, and headache. If the infection is left untreated, severe pain and swelling of the joints may occur. The pain usually occurs around the knees, but it will spread to other joints in the body as well. There have been cases where infected people suffered nervous system disease and neurological problems, such as inflammation of the brain’s membranes, Bell’s palsy, impairment of muscle movement, memory loss, and loss of concentration. These symptoms usually occur if the infection is not treated for months or years.
If you notice that a rash has appeared on your body after you have been to a region where Lyme disease is common, you should go to a doctor right away to get a diagnosis. The doctor will check your medical history and examine your body to determine whether the symptoms that you are suffering from are caused by Lyme disease or other illnesses. Presently, the most accurate diagnosis method that is available for Lyme disease is the Western Blot antibody test.
In most cases, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics. Different types of antibiotics are used for different stages of the disease. For the earlier stages, oral medications, such as doxycycline, cefuroxime axetil, and amoxicillin, can be taken. Antibiotics will resolve the Lyme disease rash in about one or two weeks’ time. If an infected person is suffering from nervous system diseases, he or she will need intravenous drugs such as ceftriaxone and penicillin G. However, the best way to be free from Lyme disease is to take the necessary preventative measures.