Lyme Disease: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Lyme disease is an infectious disease that's spread by ticks. Today, we'll tell you everything you need to know about it.
Lyme Disease: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Last update: 30 May, 2021

Lyme disease is an infectious disease spread by tick bites. It can affect anybody, and it usually happens when there’s warm weather, during the summer or spring. If you don’t treat it, it may lead to more serious complications. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease, which means that microorganisms produce it. In fact, in this case, the Borrelia bacterium causes it. This family includes different bacteria. First, bacteria affects ticks, and then infected ticks spread the disease by biting people.

Since ticks spread Lyme disease, it relates to the time of the year and the type of activities you perform. This is why it’s more common during the summer or spring. During these seasons, there are more ticks around. Besides, since the weather is warmer, we tend to wear fewer clothes and our skin is more exposed.

Ticks during the summer.

Anyway, people who spend a lot of time doing outdoor activities are the ones who can easily contract this disease. Ticks are usually in wet areas, places with tall grass, or attracted to certain domestic animals, such as dogs.

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What are its symptoms?

Suffering a tick bite doesn’t guarantee you’ll get Lyme disease. As we’ve mentioned before, first a bacteria must affect the tick, and then they’ll be ready to spread the disease. Once you contract the disease, you may start experiencing symptoms a few days later or even a month after the bite. The following are the most common symptoms:

  • Erythema migrans. This doesn’t always occur, but it’s quite common. Erythema migrans is a red expanding patch of skin. It doesn’t itch or hurt. However, it might expand and reach 0.40 inches long. Sometimes, the red patch becomes white at the center and it’s called, “Bull’s Eye”.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle and joint pain. The most common pain is in the knees, but it can affect different parts of the body.
  • Fatigue.
  • Inflamed lymph nodes. 

Read more: Use of Antibiotics in Children, What You Should Know

Lyme disease: complications

Even if the symptoms have vanished, it doesn’t mean you’re cured. In fact, it might scatter along the body, and cause different complications throughout the years. The following are some of the possible complications:

  • Chronic joint inflammation, including arthritis.
  • This disease may affect the nervous system, causing meningitis, nerve pain, and facial paralysis.
  • Heart arrhythmia.
  • Degradation of neural function, such as memory. 

What’s the treatment?

If the tick is still attached to your skin, you must remove it properly. This is because the more time it spends on your skin, the greater your chances of contracting the disease.

Bull's eye.

 

After removing the tick from your body and once you start experiencing symptoms, you should go to the doctor. Besides, even if symptoms are gone, you should still visit a specialist. This is because, as we’ve mentioned before, if you don’t treat Lyme disease properly, it might cause complications in the future.

Once you have a diagnosis, you’ll have to take antibiotics. Since it’s a bacterial disease, antibiotics will be in charge of eliminating bacteria from the body. Apart from antibiotics, you may also have to take other medications, such as anti-inflammatories or analgesics, in order to control acute symptoms.

More information about Lyme disease

Usually, when doctors diagnose and treat Lyme disease on time, there’s no serious complication. Therefore, it’s extremely important to go to a doctor as soon as you experience any symptoms. This way, the specialist will diagnose it and treat it properly.

In addition, if you’re planning to spend some time outdoors, there are certain precautions you should take. For example, you should cover your body with clothes, use repellent, insecticide, and check your clothes once you finish an activity. This way, you’ll make sure everything is ok.

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