Lyme Disease Basics

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme Disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted from an infected tick to a human through a bite.  It is the most common vector borne disease in the United States, and reports show that there may be as many as 300,000 new cases each year.

Many people who are infected will develop a rash, often called a bulls-eye rash, and may have flu-like symptoms.  Not everyone will have these symptoms, however, and not every infected person will even know that they have been bitten.

What makes this a difficult disease to diagnose, is that many of it’s symptoms mimic those of other illnesses such as Arthritis, MS, ALS, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia to name a few.  To make matters worse, the blood tests for Lyme are often inaccurate.

Many people who have been infected go years without a proper diagnosis, or treatment, which can lead to chronic symptoms making the infection much harder to treat.

You can find more information here:

http://www.ilads.org/

http://www.aldf.com/index.shtml

http://www.lymedisease.org/lyme101/lyme_disease/lyme_disease.html

http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/

Symptoms

This is the best checklist for Lyme: Symptom Checklist

Tick Identification

Ticks are the leading carriers (vectors) of diseases to humans in the United States, second only to mosquitoes worldwide. In most circumstances, it is not the tick bite but the toxins, secretions, or organisms in the tick’s saliva transmitted through the bite that cause disease.

There are over 800 species of Ticks, but the one that transmits Lyme Disease is the Black legged, or Deer Tick. They are very small and difficult to detect.

The life cycle of ticks.

Prevention

Wear light colored clothing, long sleeves and pants, tuck pants into socks. Long loose hair should be covered, braided or tied when venturing into areas where ticks are apt to be. Spray your clothing, etc. with repellent.

When coming in from outside activities where you might have encountered ticks, throw clothing into the dryer set on high heat. This will ensure no ticks survive on your clothing. Remember to do a tick check, take a shower and wash your hair.

Keep pets that have outside exposure off furniture especially bedding.

Lint rollers can be used on clothing and pets to remove ticks that are not attached to skin.

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard.  Conduct a body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas by searching your entire body for ticks.  Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

•Under the arms
•In and around the ears
•Inside belly button
•Back of the knees
•Under the arms
•In and around the hair
•Between the legs
•Around the waist

Removal

Early tick removal may reduce the risk of infection of some tick-borne diseases. Follow the steps below to safely remove ticks from animals and humans.

1. Use fine-tipped tweezers and protect bare hands with a tissue or gloves to avoid contact with tick fluids.

2. Grab the tick close to the skin. Do not twist or jerk the tick, as this may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin.

3. Gently pull straight up until all parts of the tick are removed.

tick2

DO NOT attempt to remove the tick by touching it with a burnt match or swabbing it with alcohol or petroleum jelly.  This will only aggravate the tick and cause it to release more bacteria into the blood stream.

4. Wash the bite area with antibacterial soap, and apply and antiseptic.

5. See your doctor as soon as possible. You can save the tick in a ziplock baggie for testing if you wish.

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