Lyme Disease in the “Lyme” Light

The number of reported cases of Lyme disease, as well as the number of geographic areas in which it is found, has been increasing. To help prevent this we must become educated.

First, you should know where Lyme disease originates from and thats from ticks. There are all types of ticks but one of the most common are deer ticks. They are most often found in wooded areas and nearby grasslands, and are especially common where the two areas merge, including neighborhood yards where deer occasionally roam. Ticks do not survive long on sunny lawns, they dry out quickly and die.

In the early stages of Lyme disease, you may experience flu-like symptoms that can include a stiff neck, chills,fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint. You also may experience a large, expanding skin rash around the area of the tick bite known as a “bulls eye” rash. In more advanced disease, nerve problems and arthritis, especially in the knees, may occur.

Lyme disease may be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms mimic those of other disorders. Although a tick bite is an important clue for diagnosis, many patients cannot recall having been bitten by a tick or are in the 1/4 of patients who do not have the visible “bulls eye” rash. For someone not to have known they’ve been bitten isnt unusual; for the tick is very small and the bite is normally harmless.

In general, the sooner such therapy is begun following infection, the quicker and more complete the recovery. Antibiotics are taken orally for two to four weeks and can speed the healing of the rash and can usually prevent subsequent symptoms such as arthritis or neurological problems

To prevent Lyme disease from getting to your family:

Check yourself, your family, and your pets routinely for ticks, especially after a trip outdoors. Shower and shampoo your hair if you think you may have been exposed to ticks. Check your clothes for ticks and wash them immediately in order to remove any ticks. Wear long sleeves and tightly woven clothing that is light in color when walking in wooded areas so the ticks can be seen more easily. Wear your shirt tucked into your pants, and your pants tucked into your socks or boots. Walk in the center of trails through the woods to avoid picking up ticks from overhanging grass and brush. Keep grass trimmed as short as possible.

You can also call Mosquito Squad of Grand Rapids to spray your yard for mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.

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