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What is Lyme disease? How can it be taken care of?

Symptoms of Lyme disease can involve the skin, joints, heart and nervous system as it advances through phases (stages).

Odishatv Bureau
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Lyme diseasePhotoPhoto: unsplash

What is Lyme disease? How can it be taken care of?

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Lyme disease is caused by the bite of infected black-legged ticks. It is a bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi. It can affect different body parts or systems such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. These ticks are usually found in forests as well as tall grasslands and can be found on shrubs.

How to diagnose Lyme disease - 
Lyme disease is diagnosed on the basis of symptoms, like rashes on skin. Many people don't even know that they have been bitten by a tick because a tick bite is usually painless. 

The doctor will ask you to do a blood test to detect this disease. If your test comes negative you don’t need to do another test, but if it comes positive your doctor will ask you to do another test.

Symptoms include in Lyme disease -

  • Reddish rash on the skin known as Erythema Migrans
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rashes on multiple areas of the skin
  • Paralysis of facial muscles
  • Heart block
  • Abnormal feelings (neuropathy)

Tips to prevent these ticks bites - 

  • Spray your copy with permethrin, this is an insecticide commonly found in garden stores or nurseries. You can apply this on your clothes and also directly on your skin. Read the labels, and don't overuse them, it can be harmful.
  • Minimise exposure of skin to ticks, use long pants that fit tightly and tuck them into your socks, and use full-sleeve shirts.
  • Pets also may bring ticks into your home, avoid taking your pets in such places.
  • You can get rid of ticks by putting them into the dryer for 15 mins. This will kill any ticks by drying them out.
  • Wear light-coloured clothes to detect them easily when you go to such places.

What to do when tick bites - 

  • Push gently near the head of the tick at the level of your skin, and push until it releases your skin. 
  • Avoid handling the ticks with naked fingers, this could expose you to the bacteria.
  • Wash the bite area with soap and water.
  • Kerosene, Petroleum jelly or hot cigarette buds can not be used to remove ticks.
  • Do not squeeze the tick's body with a finger or tweezers.

If you are going to such places that might have ticks, you can use these tips to take measures to avoid tick bite. If you feel sick after being in such an area, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

DISCLAIMER: Any views expressed are the author's own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.