Lyme Disease Information

Lyme disease is spread by infected ticks and is a health concern in some locations. Lyme disease has specific symptoms to watch for.

Lyme disease is an infection that is spread by disease carrying ticks. Becoming aware of high-risk locations, preventative measures, and symptoms is the best way to guard against and treat Lyme disease. The website article entitled "Lyme Disease", written and published by the National Center for Infectious Diseases, provides the following information on the origin of Lyme disease. It says since its discovery in Lyme Connecticut in the mid 1970's, Lyme disease has become a major health concern in north-central, northeast, and in the west coast regions of the United States. The ticks responsible for Lyme disease are deer ticks. These tiny ticks most often bite birds, and mammals such as deer and rodents. They also feed on human blood. When deer ticks are immature, they are smaller than two millimeters in length and are considered nymphs. This is when deer ticks are most likely to spread Lyme disease. Fully mature deer ticks are more often noticed and removed before they cause a problem.

According to "The PDR Family Guide Encyclopedia of Medical Care", published by Three Rivers Press, the symptoms of Lyme disease sometimes do not appear for a month after the initial bite. The symptoms of Lyme disease as described by this guide are as follows. It says a raised, red area will appear at the site of the infection. This small bump will grow larger and a clear center will appear. This clear center is surrounded by a red ring. "Lyme Disease" states that common areas for these red marks to appear are under the arms, on the thigh, trunk, or groin area. It also says this red rash is often painless and hot to the touch. Flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, fever, headache, chills, muscle soreness, and a stiff neck may develop, according to "The PDR Family Guide Encyclopedia of Medical Care". Long term effects of Lyme disease mentioned are nerve damage, heart and eye problems, and arthritis.

"Lyme Disease" says this illness is often overlooked because the symptoms are very similar to many other illnesses. It goes on to say that if you live in an area that is at high-risk for Lyme disease and you have symptoms of this infection tests should be taken. These tests determine whether or not Lyme disease antibodies are present in the blood. Although these tests can be helpful in diagnosing Lyme disease, the same article says they can be inaccurate.

"The PDR Family Guide Encyclopedia of Medical Care" provides the following information on patient care and the treatment of Lyme disease. It says antibiotics are administered to treat the infection, and pain relievers are given if there is swelling or soreness. It is very important to finish all antibiotics prescribed to treat Lyme disease. Discontinuing the medication can cause a relapse. It is also important to get plenty of rest during recovery. Be sure to notify your physician if new symptoms appear or if there is swelling, itching, or a rash after beginning treatment.

According to "Lyme Disease", pets can also become infected with this disease and carry infected ticks indoors. There are wonderful products on the market that will help control ticks on your pets. One product in particular is applied once a month and contains the active ingredient "fipronil". This product is absorbed into the skin and stays in the hair follicles and oils, where it is constantly released, killing ticks for approximately one month.

Treating your property with granular products that kill ticks is also a good way to prevent Lyme disease. These products can be applied with a garden spreader and are quite effective. Always be sure to follow label directions carefully when using any products for the prevention of ticks. Your county extension or local garden center can answer questions regarding products to prevent ticks on your property.

"The PDR Family Guide Encyclopedia of Medical Care" recommends taking the following precautions in the prevention of Lyme disease. It says to avoid places that may be infested with ticks such as wooded areas, fields, and locations having tall grass. If you must go into these areas it is suggested that exposed skin is covered by tucking pant legs into socks and wearing long sleeves. Tick repellents should also be applied, and people exposed to tick infested locations should be thoroughly checked about every three hours while in these locations. The areas of the body to pay particular attention to are the neck, under the arms, behind the ears, and the groin area. Taking the time to check for ticks may prevent you or a family member from contracting Lyme disease.

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