Summer is just around the corner. Many people begin to stock up on sunscreen to protect them from the harmful rays of the sun but often forget about the other dangers lurking in their backyards. From the Midwest to the Pacific coast, an infection known as Lyme disease is quite common in the United States.
Western black-legged ticks or deer ticks can spread Lyme disease when they have become infected by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. Ticks are normally found in wooded or grassy areas, even residing in your own backyard. Daily checks and removal of ticks is an easy way to prevent the spread of the disease since it usually takes up to 36 hours for the tick to infect the host.
Oftentimes, tick bites are mistaken for the more common mosquito or spider bite. Knowing what an infected tick bite looks like and some of the other symptoms that accompany Lyme disease will help in making the proper diagnosis.
The first sign is a rash that appears to look like a “bull’s-eye” called the erthema migrans rash, appearing at the site of the bite. Roughly 80 percent of Lyme disease sufferers will have this rash. Some common warning signs to look for include feeling very tired, pain or swelling in the joints, and numbness in the back, hands or feet. Swollen lymph nodes, headache or fever may also be present.
If the Lyme disease is not treated early, more severe symptoms may appear. The rash may become worse and headaches, joint and nerve pain may increase. Irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations may arise. Also, look out for feeling dizzy, shortness of breath, numbness and short-term memory problems. While many of these symptoms are frightening to consider, the Center for Disease Control notes that Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.
When playing or working outdoors this summer, remember to wear insect repellant. If a tick is discovered remove it right away. Be on the lookout for any of the mentioned symptoms or call your doctor with any worries or concerns.