Most people aren’t aware of how Lyme disease works. Its transmission is also still a mystery. The disease is common in Asia, Europe and USA, but it can be transmitted anywhere where ticks are found. It is a rare disease, but it can be fatal if it isn’t diagnosed. Here’s a quick overview of how Lyme Disease can be transmitted:
There are four main bacteria species that come into play. They are called Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia mayonii, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii. If a tick carries any of these bacteria, they can transmit Lyme disease.
If that infected tick bites you, you will notice a bull’s eye rash or contact dermatitis developing on your body. This affects your heart, joints, nervous system and skin. The scary thing about Lyme disease is that it occurs in phases. In the early phases it starts at the site of the tick bite with a ring of redness that continually expands. It’s also worth mentioning that the stage of the disease depends on the symptoms.
If you spend a lot of time in wooded areas, or areas where ticks thrive, your chances to contract Lyme disease are higher. If you’ve been bitten, it can take a month or more for the symptoms to start appearing. There is no need to worry about it being contagious, because it’s not.
What are the symptoms?
After the tick bite a red bump often appears at the site of the bite. This is completely normal, and it usually goes away after a few days and it doesn’t mean you now have Lyme disease.
Lyme disease symptoms include:
- Rash: Between 3-30 days after an infected bite, an expanding red area might appear. It will expand from the centre, and sometimes looks like a bull’s-eye pattern. Expands slowly and can spread to 30cm across. It is not painful or itchy.
- Body aches, chills, fatigue, fever, and headaches. (Flu-like symptoms)
New signs and symptoms of Lyme infection might appear if untreated. They include:
- Arthritis and Joint pain: Severe joint pain and swelling in your knees. The pain can shift from one joint to another
- Back pain
- You might develop inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis). It could cause neurological problems like Bell’s palsy (temporary/partial facial paralysis). It can also lead to numbness or weakness in your limbs. What makes it worse is that this could happen weeks, months or even years after infection.
Several weeks after infection, some people develop:
- Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat and lasts for more than a few days or weeks
- Eye inflammation
- Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
How is it diagnosed?
If you live in an area known to have Lyme disease and you have been bitten by a tick, consult your doctor immediately.
Lyme disease can be very difficult to diagnose. That’s because a lot of its symptoms may look like something else. One important factor to keep in mind is that a tick bite is an important clue. Check yourself or have your doctor check you. Many patients don’t notice the bite marks and may get misdiagnosed.
What are your treatment options?
Even though Lyme disease is rare, it’s best to treat it in the early stages, because it can be deadly if left untreated. Early treatment is usually a course of oral antibiotics that you need to take for 14-to-21-days.
Can it be prevented?
A lot of research has been done over the years. A Lyme disease vaccine is in development, but no definite vaccine has been created. Unfortunately, it’s not available yet. You can read this article published on Forbes: “Lyme Disease Vaccine Could Be Ready In 4 to 5 Years”. But for now, the only way is to avoid exposure to infected ticks is to be aware.
Here are some tips to prevent tick bites:
- If you go for a walk in an area that is bush or woodland, I recommend wearing long sleeves and tightly woven clothes.
- Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your boots or socks.
- Try to keep the grass trimmed where possible
- Apply tick repellent to your clothing, shoes and socks before you go into a tick-infested environment. (Please read the container carefully for possible side effects).
- If you suspect that you’ve been exposed to a tick bite, act quickly. Look to see if you have any bite marks. Take a shower and shampoo your hair – this can help remove any attached ticks.
- Make sure to check your clothes for ticks and should you find any wash them immediately in order to remove them. You can use methylated spirits to help with this process. You need to remove the head of the tick along with the body. Take special care to do that. Avoid tugging on the body too roughly when removing the tick, as this can result in the head staying behind. Rather, pull slowly and carefully.
Ozone Steam Therapy is an excellent alternative for Lyme disease treatment. It can help your body heal if you have Lyme disease. One of the main reasons is that ozone increases the amount of oxygen in the body. Because oxygen (O²) has two atoms, the three atoms in ozone (O³) supercharge the oxygen in the body to help it heal and boost your immune system.