What is Lyme disease?

What do you know about Lyme disease and why are epidemiologists so worried about its spreading all over the United States? Keep reading to learn more.

Lyme disease

The tendency of spreading of the Lyme disease resulted in the panic among the epidemiologists. They claim that the number of people that got Lyme disease has grown twice in the period between 1995 and 2014. And these numbers did not yet include people that got Lyme disease within the last two years.

The specialists state that they cannot predict any scenario on how many more people will get it within the nearest time, but they explain that the increase proved to be gradually growing.

Moreover, scientists say that the disease was at first considered to be dangerous only on the East Coast of the United States. Nevertheless, it has already reached Florida and Canada, which means that it can become a nation-wide problem. So what is this Lyme disease everyone is so afraid of?

lyme disease tick

It is an infection that gets into one’s body. The early symptoms of the disease are close to those of flu. Most patients complain that they have a rash, joint pain, fever, chills and nausea. However, the symptoms can vary from case to case. Thus, some patients did not have rash at all, while the majority complained on a rash that was shaped like a bull’s eye.

The statistics shows that in 42% cases of the Lyme disease cases that turned out to be fatal patients had rash. Doctors recommend having a checklist of the symptoms of Lyme disease at home in order to call for help in case any of them look like Lyme disease to you.

The fact is that in case Lyme disease was not treated right away, it can become late-stage or even chronic. However, the symptoms that are common for Lyme disease usually overlap with other diseases like chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Lyme disease symptoms

A list of symptoms for Lyme disease includes:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Mood problems
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Muscle pain
  • Poor sleep, etc.

The spread of Lyme disease cases in northern areas can be explained by the global warming. The bugs, known as deer or bear ticks or also black-legged ticks, bite a person and transmit the infection. At least 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the United States every year. This number is bigger than the number of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS every year. These numbers prove the great importance of being prepared for the disease and being able to treat it on early stages.

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The tick we are referring to is of a size of a poppy seed, and can easily unnoticed. In case it bit someone and was not removed right away, the chances of getting Lyme disease are getting higher. The bite itself is absolutely pain-free, so it can be left not felt.

Lyme disease ticks

If the tick bit a pregnant woman, the disease is likely to be passed to a child, though unborn yet. Moreover, there were cases of stillbirth in case a mother got bit by a tick and infected with Lyme disease on early stages.

In addition, Northeast of the United States are the homeland for the Lyme disease. However, the scientists show that the black-legged tick can now be found in almost every state (43 out of 50) which increases the chances of further spreading of Lyme disease. These numbers are almost twice as higher than they used to be in 1998.

The specialists recommend you to get to know more about the ticks and make sure to remove your clothes right after a walk in the woods. You should also take a shower and examine your body after such walks to prevent any possible bites and penetration of a tick under your skin.

The treatment for Lyme disease claims to be successful in 80% if the patient is diagnosed with the disease on early stages. He will be given special antibiotics, amoxicillin and tetracycline, which should kill the infection after about 10-20 days of treatment.

Lyme disease protection

Make sure not to start panicking. These ticks are not capable of flying or even jumping. Thus, the only way of getting a tick under your skin is when you touch some bushes  they live in. So the rules are easy as ABC: protect your body with clothes.

If you go into a wood, makes sure to wear long sleeves and pants. Being not able to get under your clothes, the ticks are most likely to “leave you alone”. If you want more protection than that, you can also use some tick repellents that contain lemon oil, DEET or eucalyptus in them.

There are also special tick repellents that you can spray over your camping gears and a tent in case you go hiking and are afraid of ticks. The name of such a repellent is chemical permethrin.

Wearing a hat can also be helpful, as in the view of a small size of a tick, it can be hard to find it, if it gets in your hair. And one more tip: use a hot dryer to get rid of anything in your clothes that can still be dangerous.

And remember not to panic: of you get a tick, the chances of getting rid of it or even cured in case it was diagnosed on early stage are very high. However, panic attacks can lower your immune system and ability of your body to fight the disease off.

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