Lyme disease is an illness that occurs after an individual gets a deer tick bite. Many ticks carry this bacteria that can quickly spread to humans through bites. While it’s one of the most common diseases in the United States, there is still a lot of information that the average person doesn’t know about the disease. If you have Lyme disease, or would just like to learn more about it, continue reading!
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Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know
How Long Does the Disease Last?
Many people wonder if Lyme disease is a condition they’ll have for the rest of their lives. After receiving the diagnosis, it typically takes a minimum of two weeks for an individual to feel better with no recurring side effects associated with the disease. However, it can take up to four weeks or longer. Although it’s not as common, some people continue to experience Lyme disease symptoms for months.
The Common Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Not everyone who is affected realizes they have Lyme disease at first. However, they may experience specific symptoms and think they’re overly tired or coming down with a cold. It’s common for those with the disease to experience a rash on their body. Sometimes, the rash leaves a pattern on the body that looks a lot like a bull’s eye. In addition, the disease can leave you with aching joints, weak limbs, and a fever.
Because the symptoms are similar to the common cold, some people brush it off and assume they’re coming down with a cold. When the symptoms continue to get worse despite using cold and flu medication, it’s usually then that the individual receives the diagnosis upon visiting their physician for treatment.
The Treatment Options for Lyme Disease
Once a patient gets diagnosed with this disease, the physician prescribes antibiotics for the patient to take. The individual with Lyme disease needs to follow the instructions on the bottle of antibiotics, taking them until they no longer have any left. The antibiotics work to kill the bacteria that can cause those uncomfortable symptoms. In some cases, patients may need additional medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs. The medications prescribed vary from one patient to the next and often depend on the severity of the disease in that specific patient.
Those living with symptoms long after the tick bite may need to see different specialists for treatment. Some of these specialists include rheumatologists, neurologists, and infectious disease doctors. These medical professionals will ask specific questions and run tests to better understand why some patients experience lasting symptoms of the disease and others don’t.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Persistent Symptoms?
Those with persistent symptoms may wonder when those symptoms will come to an end. Feeling better is a top priority. While there isn’t an exact number of weeks or months, most people with lasting symptoms start to feel better slowly but surely within a few months. It can take up to a year or longer for others. It’s vital for anyone with lasting symptoms to talk to their primary care physician about what they’re experiencing. The physician may provide recommendations or referrals to specialists for additional treatment to help the patient overcome these uncomfortable, and often longer-lasting, and debilitating side effects.
How Do You Get Bitten by a Deer Tick?
It’s easy to get bitten by a deer tick without initially realizing it. These tiny insects blend in with their surroundings and are usually in grassy, humid areas. If you live in a place where the weather is often warm and humid, you have a greater chance of sustaining a tick bite, but that doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a bite. These insects spend a lot of time crawling through shrubs, trees, and other plants, making it difficult to spot them.
Be aware of your surroundings whenever you’re outdoors, especially if you’re walking on a hiking trail or hanging out in a grassy area with your pet. Always check yourself and any pets for any ticks after you’ve been out in the wild. Unfortunately, ticks don’t discriminate, and they can latch on to pets just like they’d latch on to humans.
Because they blend in so well and are relatively small insects, most people don’t notice them when they bite. Deer ticks don’t have a specific area of the body that they typically bite, so they can end up latching on a person’s legs, back, or thigh in an area that is difficult to see without standing in front of a mirror. Those who’ve contracted Lyme disease often have a tick latched to them for more than 24 hours before realizing it. When removed quickly and carefully, it’s often easier to avoid the disease associated with these bites. If appropriate, you may want to have someone else examine your body looking for ticks, particularly in areas hard for you to see on your own.
How to Avoid Tick Bites
If you’d like to avoid tick bites to potentially lower your risk of suffering from Lyme disease, take these preventative measures:
- First, once you’ve spent time outdoors, be sure to get in the shower and wash your body, examining all areas for any ticks that might have latched themselves onto your body.
- Next, before going out into the wild, consider using a chemical repellent safe for use on the body to keep ticks and other insects away from you, such as mosquitoes.
- Third, if you’re spending time outside, wear protective clothing that makes it difficult for ticks to get through to your skin. That can include long sleeve shirts, long pants, to the knee socks, etc.
- Finally, don’t just check yourself after spending a few hours outside. Be sure to check your children and your pets for any ticks, too.
Unfortunately, if a deer tick latches onto a person and stays there for a longer period of time, it can cause Lyme disease to develop. The disease often leaves people feeling like they’ve come down with the common cold, but that isn’t the case. The good news is that this condition is curable, but it can take some time to heal and feel better. Some people heal from it faster than others, with some people experiencing drawn-out symptoms of the disease for months. Knowing the symptoms that Lyme disease can cause you, it’s important to remain proactive when you’re outside in areas that the deer ticks frequent, including grassy spots and bushes. May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Lyme Disease Symptoms AdobeStock_281009851 by artinspiring, Lyme Borreliosis from Tick Bite Depositphotos_79395882_s-2019, Tick AdobeStock_269814610 by EvgeniyQW, Female Doctor with Tick AdobeStock_160819572 by andriano_cz