What is Lyme Disease? – Lyme Disease Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, & Prevention
Lyme Disease Symptoms – The world is full of diseases, and you can get them anywhere. Protection against most of these diseases might not be in your hand, but for some diseases, it could be. For example, you might not be able to avoid cancer, even if you are taking full protection.
On the other hand, diseases like Lyme could be in the hand of her person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe the United States still records around 200,000 cases of Lyme disease. Lyme disease is more common in the United States as compared to Asia or any other country.
That is why today we are here to discuss everything related to the disease, including Lyme disease symptoms, causes, and its treatment. We will also take a look at how you can easily prevent it.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is called black-legged ticks. In the United States, the black-legged tick is also known as the deer tick. You can get infected with Lyme disease if a bite ticks you and stay attached for around 36 to 48 hours.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe if you remove the tick within 48 hours, then there are very few chances that you will ever get infected with the bacteria.
On the other hand, people who fail to remove the tick within 48 hours and get infected with the bacteria are going to travel through your bloodstream and affect various tissues of your body.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention will leave the symptoms of Lyme disease very tricky. There is a probability that you might not develop the symptoms of Lyme disease until it’s been 30 days, as the CDC believes you can start developing symptoms of Lyme disease within 3 to 30 days after the fight.
As per the above given period, there are high chances that you might not develop any symptoms related to Lyme disease until it’s been 32 days after your bite.
If you develop any symptoms related to Lyme disease, then you might develop the below-given early symptoms.
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle and joint pain
Another thing that makes Lyme disease very tricky to diagnose is the commonality of its symptoms with regular flu. A person who has been infected with regular flu is also going to get similar symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, fatigue, fever, and headache.
Due to its commonality, it is also possible that you might leave Lyme disease without any proper treatment. If it is left untreated, then it might develop worse symptoms which might include:
- Severe headache and neck stiffness
- Rashes on other areas of your body
- Arthritis with joint pain and swelling
- Drooping on one or both sides of your face
- An irregular heartbeat
- Inflammation in your brain and spinal cord
- Numbness, shooting pains, or tingling in your hand.
One of the biggest indications of Lyme disease is its rash, similar to bull’s-eye. You might have seen several sporting events, such as archery, where they have to shoot arrows to round a circle. If you have any of the above-given diseases and you are developing a rash similar to bull’s eye, then you should get yourself to a doctor as early as possible. That rash is going to grow each day, and it can grow up to 12 inches across.
Diagnosis of Lyme disease
Once you have learned about the symptoms, now it is time for you to learn about the diagnosis of Lyme disease. As you are already aware, it can get very tricky to diagnose Lyme disease by just taking a look at your symptoms.
Most of these symptoms are also associated with general flu. If it gets mixed diagnosed, then it can make the whole situation worse. Your doctor might run a blood test which can come negative as antibodies take a few weeks to show up in the blood.
The first stage of Lyme Disease
The first stage of Lyme disease is also known as early localized Lyme. In this stage, you will experience the symptoms of flu, which we have discussed in the above-given section. You will experience fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat. At the same time, you might also experience a rash like bull’s eyes which are going to be 2 inches long.
The second stage of Lyme Disease
The second stage of Lyme disease is known as early disseminated Lyme. Similar to the first condition, the infected person will have all the symptoms of blue, including pain, weakness, numbness in the chest, and the rash is going to be bigger. During the second stage, a person might develop facial paralysis, which is also known as Bell’s Palsy.
The final stage of liver Disease
The third and final stage of Lyme disease is known as late disseminated Lyme, which can happen after weeks of developing the symptoms. In some cases, where immunity is strong, it might take around months or weeks to develop. It is going to include symptoms like arthritis, severe fatigue, headache, dizziness, and trouble while sleeping.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe around 10% of people who get treated with Lyme disease don’t shake the disease. Three core symptoms of Lyme disease, including joint and muscle fatigue, short-term memory loss, and confusion, are going to stay in their system even after getting treatment.
This condition is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, and it can be impossible to diagnose because it has similar symptoms as other diseases. At the same time, there is no blood test to confirm it.
Some experts around the world believe that symptoms of Lyme disease may never go away as your body will keep fighting the infection even if the bacteria is already gone, like an autoimmune disease.
Treatment of Lyme Disease
Similar to its diagnosis, the treatment options may also vary depending on the stage of Lyme disease. For example, people who are in the early stages of Lyme disease might get treated with antibiotics for about two to three weeks, depending on their situation.
Antibiotics usually cure your disease, and it is the standard treatment procedure. The choice of medicine might also vary depending on the age and condition of the person. For example, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding might not get the similar antibiotic as adult men.
Patients who don’t feel better after taking antibiotics might be suggested to take intravenous antibiotics. It is usually suggested when the disease starts involving the central nervous system. Similar to other treatments, you have to take intravenous antibiotics for around two to four weeks.
If you are suggested to take intravenous antibiotics, then you should be focusing on its side effects also. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe there are a huge number of side effects of taking these antibiotics, including lower white blood cell count, severe diarrhea, etc.
Even after taking a full treatment, some people might still have the symptoms of the disease, including muscle aches, fatigue, fever, headache, memory loss, etc. Health experts around the world have named it post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
Unfortunately, there is no fixed treatment or therapy for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Your doctor might be able to help you lower the symptoms of the syndrome, but they might stay in your system forever as it becomes an autoimmune disease.
Prevention of Lyme Disease
Before we wrap this up, let’s take a quick look at the prevention of Lyme disease because the symptoms and the diagnosis are very hard for the condition. It is always going to be the best thing to prevent the disease rather than diagnosis and treatment.
Things that are known to cause Lyme disease can’t fly or jump. They usually live in shrubs and bushes, And they can easily grab one when you pass nearby.
- The CDC suggests you should wear pants and socks in areas where there are a lot of trees, and you have to walk.
- Always wear tickle repellent on your skin and clothing.
- You can even use chemical permethrin on clothing and camping gear for better protection.
- You should take a shower within two hours after coming from outside, and always take a good look at your skin for any tick or bite.
Ticks are very small, and you must have good eyesight to spot them. If you believe there is an unusual bumper on your skin that might look like a mosquito bite, then you should get yourself tested for the same.
Every tick bite does not mean that you are going to have Lyme disease. There are very few ticks that can cause Lyme disease.
What are the causes of Lyme disease?
In the United States, Lyme disease is usually caused by bacteria which is carried by black-legged or deer ticks. Young ticks are no bigger than a poppy seed which can make it impossible to spot the tick and its bite. Every tick bite cannot cause Lyme disease as it has to stay attached to your skin for around 36 to 48 hours.