There are approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease each year(1). This infectious disease originates from a bacteria that comes from a deer tick and can infect humans and pets alike.
When a person is diagnosed with Lyme disease, further radiography tests are done to assess other complications, such as Lyme arthritis, cognitive defects, and neuropathy.
It is always a thrill to enjoy the outdoors with your family or take a trek with your fur buddies, especially in the summer. But be very observant when it comes to the insects you may encounter in the woods or parks.
If your family is going out on a nature trek or going camping, make sure that you put on enough insect repellent on your skin to protect yourself from tick bites.
You can also use bug spray in your house or in areas of your home where there are insect infestations.
It is recommended to use insect repellents with lemon eucalyptus oil and DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide).
Remember that these bug sprays and repellents are highly toxic and poisonous. Make sure that you carry out the product instructions properly to avoid harmful repercussions.
Lyme disease infection can be prevented if the tick is removed quickly. Be observant and alert for these tiny insects, especially when you come from the woods or grassy areas.
Take a shower straight away to remove possible unattached ticks in your body. Ensure you take off your clothes and wash them immediately to avoid probable tick infestation in your house.
If you observe that your dog or cat has ticks, properly extract these ticks with a tweezer.
When removing a tick, grab it by the head or near the mouth and remember not to crush or squeeze it. After extracting the tick, put antiseptic on your dog’s skin and dispose of the tick by flushing it down or putting it in alcohol.
When you are out in areas where you know there might be ticks, make sure that your skin is fully covered. Exposed skin is one of the risk factors in getting Lyme disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), treating your clothes with permethrin can protect you from ticks and other insects(2). It is suggested to use 0.5% permethrin in your socks, pants, shirt, and even your tent.
This insect repellent may still be protective after several times of washing(3).
Tend your lawn regularly to prevent insects and other wild animals from coming to your yard. If you have wood in your home, make sure to stack them neatly in a dry place.
Clear out leaves, grasses, and wood chips away from the patio or areas where you stay with your family, and make sure that there are no food sources for animals, especially deers, in your backyard.
The treatment of Lyme disease should begin early to recover quickly. It is best to seek medical attention as soon as you discover that you got bitten by a tick.
Typically, Lyme disease is initially treated with antibiotics to address the infection. It can be ingested or administered through an intravenous or IV.
Oral antibiotics are one of the standard treatments for Lyme disease(4). It is recommended to take antibiotics for 14 to 21 days after confirming that you may be infected with Lyme disease.
Meanwhile, an intravenous antibiotic is known to alleviate infection caused by Lyme disease effectively(5). However, it may involve your nervous system, and your recovery from the symptoms may be delayed(6).
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some herbal medicines are effective in treating Lyme disease.
These natural medications include:
- Black walnut
- Chinese skullcap
- Sweet wormwood
- Cat’s claw
- Japanese knotweed
But there are limited studies to prove that these plant derivatives can help treat Lyme disease.
It is best to discuss with your doctor the effective and safe ways to medicate Lyme disease.
This disease is a tick-borne disease caused by a species of bacteria that can infect you and your pets.
Lyme disease can spread through a bite of a deer tick or a black-legged tick that can be seen in woody and grassy areas.
You can usually observe Lyme disease symptoms appearing gradually in your body or on your pets. Its symptoms start from a single rash that expands and progresses to a more severe set of complications like(7):
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Neck stiffness
After a month or even years of these initial symptoms, an infected person or pet can develop joint pain and swelling, and some neurological problems, such as(8):
- Impaired muscle movement
- Inflammation in the membranes of the brain (meningitis)
- Weakness or numbness of the limbs
- Transitory paralysis of one side of the face (Bell’s palsy)
It is crucial to consult your doctor when you think you have been bitten by a tick with Lyme disease, even when the symptoms are non-existent or have disappeared.
Note that if Lyme disease remains untreated, it may spread throughout the body and cause other diseases(9).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (n.d.), Lyme Disease: Data and Surveillance, retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/datasurveillance/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Flyme%2Fstats%2Findex.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (n.d.), Prevent Lyme Disease, retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dvbd/media/lymedisease.html
- The Mayo Clinic, (n.d.), Lyme Disease, retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374655
- Centers for Control and Prevention, (n.d.), Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease, retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.html
- The Mayo Clinic, Op. Cit