Lyme disease

Lyme disease is an infectious ailment brought about by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium that is transmitted via tick bites. The consequential infection from a bite results to swelling, rash, joint pain and flu-like symptoms. The condition can also involve the nervous system which causes dizziness, headaches and other symptoms.

The disease is spread by the deer tick or western black-legged tick. These ticks are usually found in wooded areas. The condition starts with the manifestation of a red spot at the site of the tick bite within days to weeks after. The spot might radiate into a circular or oval-shaped rash that strikingly resembles a bull’s eye. Over time, the rash spreads to various sites all over the body.

Indications of Lyme disease

The usual indications of Lyme disease include the following:

  • Fever

    Lyme disease
    The spot might radiate into a circular or oval-shaped rash that strikingly resembles a bull’s eye.
  • Aches
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Rash which starts with a bull’s eye that spreads over time
  • Muscle pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Neuropathy
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Swelling of the knees and other large joints in the body

Risk factors

Various factors that increases the risk for developing Lyme disease include the following:

  • Hiking or camping in tick-infested areas
  • Autoimmune ailments or other conditions that compromises the immunity
  • Pregnancy
  • Exposure to animals especially those that are susceptible to tick bites
  • Young children or elderly
  • Skin not protected by clothing or insect repellants
  • Spending long hours outdoors especially during the spring and summer season

Management

If an individual is suspected with Lyme disease, the doctor will perform a series of tests including the blood to determine if he/she has antibodies to the bacteria responsible for the disease. Remember that not all tests are definite but the doctor will consider the test results along with the symptoms to come up with a diagnosis.

The condition is treated using antibiotics. The recovery is usually quick and complete but some symptoms might recur or persist if a diagnosis is made at a later phase of the disease.

It is vital to carefully follow the treatment plan for Lyme disease and take the antibiotics as instructed to prevent recurrence. The commonly used antibiotics that are effective in managing the disease include cefuroxime, amoxicillin and doxycycline.

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