As the weather getting more pleasant in our area and we all spend more time outdoors, there is always increased risk of insect bite and as our area being populated with Deers and therefore deer ticks, the risk of contracting Lyme disease is a reasonable fear.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an illness that can make you feel like you have the flu. It can also cause a rash, fever, or nerve, joint, or heart problems.
People can get Lyme disease after being bitten by a tiny insect called a tick. When a certain type of tick bites you, it can transmit the germ that causes Lyme disease from its body to yours. But a tick can infect you only if it stays attached for at least a day.
The ticks that carry Lyme disease feed on deer and mice. Ticks are found in tall grass and on shrubs, and can attach to animals and people walking by. Ticks cannot fly or jump.
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
Symptoms can start days or weeks after a tick bite. They include:
If a person is not treated, further symptoms can occur months to years after a tick bite. These include:
What do you need to know if get bitten by a tick?
If you find a tick on your body or on your child, use tweezers to grab it. Then pull it out slowly and gently. After that, wash the area with soap and water.
You do not need to keep the tick. But knowing what it looked like can help your doctor decide about your treatment. See if you can tell:
You should watch the area around the bite for a month to see if a rash occurs.
It is helpful if the person can provide information about the size of the tick, whether it was actually attached to the skin, if it was engorged (that is, full of blood), and how long it was attached.
Do you need to see a doctor?
See your doctor if you have a tick and you cannot get it off or if you think you have had a tick attached for at least 36 hours (a day and a half).
Is there a test for Lyme disease?
Yes. Blood tests can show if you are infected with the germ that causes Lyme disease. But these tests won’t work if you have them right after being bitten. It takes time for an infection to show up in your body. If you have the typical rash that goes with Lyme disease, the blood test is not necessary.
How is Lyme disease treated?
Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics. Treatment with antibiotics should help your symptoms go away. Sometimes, symptoms improve quickly. Other times, it can take weeks or months for symptoms to go away.
Your doctor might prescribe medicine for you to take right after a tick bite. Or your doctor might wait to see if you first develop symptoms. Either way, the medicine will treat your Lyme disease.
What can you do to try to avoid getting bitten by a tick? — You can: