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What is Lyme Disease?

By Blogger June 24, 2014 - 7:31pm
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Recently, I've been hearing about Lyme Disease. A friend of mine from college has it. She was always sick, strep 4 times in a year, the flu 3 times, etc. So what exactly is lyme disease? How do people get it? What are the signs and symptoms? Should I worry about getting it myself? Can I prevent it?

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Hello Hayden,

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne bacterial infection in North America and Europe. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burdoferi.

It is transmitted to humans by a bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Deer ticks, which feed on the blood of animals, particularly deer, and humans can harbor the bacteria and spread it when feeding.

The disease was first recognized in 1975 in Lyme, Connecticut. An unusually large number of children were being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in Lyme and two neighboring towns.

Within a month after being infected, a small red bum may appear at the site of the tick bite. Over the next few days, the redness may expand forming a rash in a bull's-eye pattern, with a red outer ring surrounding the clear area. This rash, called erythema migrans, is one hallmark of Lyme disease. In some cases, the rash develops in more than one place on the body.

Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and a headache can accompany the rash.

Joint pain may develop several weeks to months following infection.

Meningitis, which is inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain, Bell's palsy, which is temporary paralysis of one side of the face, numbness or weakness of the arms and legs, and impaired muscle movement are neurological problems that can develop weeks, months and year after the bite.

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid areas where deer live, such as bushy wooded areas.

Preventative measures include wearing long pans and long sleeves when walking in wooded or grassy areas. Tuck long pans into your socks. Apply an insect repellent with a 20% or higher concentration of DEET to your skin.
Check yourself, children and pets for ticks after spending time in wooded or grassy areas. Be vigilant. Deer ticks are no bigger than the head of a pin.


June 25, 2014 - 5:30pm
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