Preschooler, Toddler

Lyme Disease – Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Living in a wooded and grassy area can no doubt be refreshing considering fresh air and green environment such areas are. However, living such an area where mice and deer also live in the woods can be challenging. The main challenge turns out to be the risk of getting Lyme disease

This is a disease that is very common among babies and adults living near wooded areas inhabited by deer and mice. The ticks associated with mice and dear easily transmit the Borrelia burdorferi bacterium found on such animals to humans through bites. Commonly known as black-legged ticks, the ticks feed on these animals and carry the bacterium only to find their way to houses where humans live.

The ticks can be very small and therefore difficult to see. Indeed, people and parents who live near wooded areas can never tell if indeed they or their babies were bitten by a tick. However, not all tick bites cause the disease.

Symptoms

Presentation of Lyme disease symptoms occurs in stages several days of a tick bite. Development of a circular rash at the point of a bite is normally the first symptom. This can be after a week or so after a bite. The resultant rash is normally characterized by a central spot that is reddish in color. Although warm to the touch, the rash remains painless and fairly flat. Such other symptoms as fever can also develop.

It is common for the initial symptoms to resolve on their own without any medical interventions with an infected baby adult regaining good health. However, this does not apply to everyone. The symptoms can resolve only to re-appear after several weeks with resultant infection spreading to other areas of the body. Several areas of the skin that were not initially bitten can develop other rashes.

If not treated or incorrectly treated after wrong diagnosis, the disease progresses to the third stage, which can be after several months or even years. This is the stage at which an infected baby or adult develops swollen joints that become very tender to the touch. This is also the stage at which the disease can affect a baby’s or an adult’s heart only to cause irregular rhythm of the heart, leading to heart palpitations. The nervous system is also bound to be affected, which leads to either meningitis or Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis).

Treatment

Although Lyme disease is not contagious, treating it is often a serious challenge especially in areas with medical facilities that lack necessary diagnostic tools. The disease is indeed often misdiagnosed, which worsens conditions in affected babies and adults. Re-infection also possible after treatment so long as a baby or an adult remains in an area where black-legged ticks are present.

Lyme disease is treated using antibiotic medications. Babies and adults diagnosed with the disease do get well after two to three weeks. This is usually with cases that are diagnosed early. Treating advanced Lyme disease that has affected body organs can be a serious challenge especially if affected organs are already damaged.

Prevention

The risk of getting Lyme disease should not prevent anyone from living in a wooded area. The disease is easily preventable. Wearing of closed shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants provide protection against tick bites. Use of safe insecticide repellents is also encouraged in addition to ensuring that there are no moist grounds around the house and cutting of long grass is effective in keeping the ticks at bay.

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