Lyme disease or Lyme Borreliosis is an infectious tick-borne disease. Basically, small animals like mice carry a bacterium called Borrelia Burgdorferi. When ticks bite these animals they also become carriers of these bacteria. These ticks then release these bacteria in the bloodstream of humans by biting them.
These Ixodes ticks, commonly known as Black legged ticks or Deer ticks are usually found in wooden and grassy areas, especially in Europe and along the eastern parts of North America.
They are dark brown or black colored creatures are about 3 mm in size. You would be more at risk of acquiring this disease during the summer months because nymphal activity of these ticks tends to increase during summers.
Both humans as well as animals are susceptible to this disease. Most of the cases of Lyme disease generally occur in regions like New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Wisconsin. Incidents of Lyme disease have also been reported in Scandinavia, China, Japan and Australia.
Signs and Symptoms of Lyme disease
The symptoms of Lyme disease are usually manifested within a few days or weeks of tick bite. The symptoms generally start off with the presence of a red spot on the area of tick bite accompanied by mild flu-like symptoms. Red rashes, known as Erythema Migrans also appear on the skin and grow progressively.
In fact, this progressive growth in the size of these circular or oval rashes is one of the most important signs of Lyme disease. The infection may also trigger multiple secondary rashes on the site of infection. They rashes or lesions can grow up to the size of a football.
In some cases, the rash may resemble a bull’s eye in appearance, that is, a central red spot surrounded by clear skin further bordered by an expanding red rash. Other symptoms include fever, headache, joint ache, swollen lymph nodes, joint or muscle stiffness, fatigue and anxiety.
Treatments and Complications of Lyme disease
It is important to identify and cure this disease in time before it causes any serious problems by affecting other parts and organs like the heart, joints or the nervous system. Lyme Arthritis, Heart Failure, Bell’s palsy (facial muscle paralysis) and Meningitis are some such diseases that can develop in the later stages of Lyme disease. Western Blot assay antibody test is often useful in diagnosing this disease.
Treatment of Lyme disease requires a 2-4 week course of antibiotics, depending on the stage and site of infection. Garlic, oregano oil, olive leaf extract, bilberry extract and other such home remedies for Lyme disease are also beneficial in dealing with this disease.
Also, when travelling in a trick infested area, be careful and take relevant precautionary measures like wearing long sleeved and light colored clothes, using tick repellents, tucking pant legs in shoes etc.