Lyme disease is a common illness caused by bites from infected ticks. These minor, blood-sucking bugs can be found all over the UK and other parts of Europe and North America. They typically live in overgrown and deep-rooted plants, such as woods and bogs. However, they can also be found in gardens.
Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bite of a tick. Ticks are attracted to the carbon dioxide and warmth of humans and animals. They latch onto anything that brushes against them and feeds on the blood for about twenty-four hours. After that, they must stay attached to the host for at least 48 hours to transmit the disease. The symptoms of Lyme disease are not always obvious, but there are signs you can look for.
The first step in diagnosing Lyme disease is to review your health history. You should include any tick bites, your location in an endemic area, and any other details that may help your healthcare provider confirm if you have the disease. A physical exam is also performed to determine whether you have any other symptoms of Lyme disease. If you have any concerns, you should see your healthcare provider immediately.
The most common symptom of Lyme disease is erythema migrans, a bull’s-eye-shaped, expanding rash. This rash can last for three days or a month. The disease may also cause fatigue and a stiff neck. Chronic Lyme disease can also lead to meningitis or spinal cord inflammation.
The standard Lyme disease treatment consists of a course of oral antibiotics, usually doxycycline or amoxicillin, administered for four to six weeks. It is also recommended that you undergo tests for co-infections. However, antibiotic treatment is not guaranteed a cure, so discussing treatment options with your doctor is essential.
One option for Lyme disease treatment is hyperbaric oxygen therapy. However, this treatment is costly and time-consuming. It also carries risks like myopia and middle ear barotrauma. Other treatments include stem cell transplants, chelation therapy, and intravenous silver infusion. Bismuth therapy is hazardous, and the US Food and Drug Administration has warned against using it.
Researchers have also been interested in the effectiveness of antibiotics in patients with chronic Lyme disease. A recent study sponsored by the NIH concluded that a longer course of intravenous antibiotics was beneficial for patients with chronic neurologic symptoms. The patients in the study had been sick for an average of nine years and had previously failed various treatments.
Prevention of Lyme disease involves keeping ticks off your skin and avoiding contact with them. If you see a tick on your body, remove it immediately. If it is attached to your skin, you can use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp it and pull it upwards with steady pressure. Then, you can clean the area with rubbing alcohol and an iodine scrub. If you have Lyme disease symptoms, contact a doctor as soon as possible.
Ticks carry bacteria and can spread Lyme disease to humans. Ticks attach to your skin in many places, including your underarms, back, and scalp. Look for ticks when you walk outside. You can detect them by feeling and seeing them. If you don’t see them, check your body for the presence of the tick’s nymph stage. This stage will look like dark specks.
The risk of developing Lyme disease is low if the tick has been attached for 24 hours or less. However, if you’ve recently been exposed to a tick, check for signs of Lyme disease to ensure the infection has not spread to other parts of your body. If you notice the rash, see your doctor as early as possible so you can start treatment immediately.