May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, so you have have noticed green ribbons floating around. But do you know what this disease that has been around since before the 1980’s is really about? Here are 10 facts you should know about Lyme disease:
- Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorrferi and a bite from a deer tick carrying the bacteria. Lyme disease is diagnosed by a medical professional and can take 4-6 weeks for the bacteria to show up positive in a blood test.
- Lyme disease cannot spread from one person to another. A tick must feed on an animal carrying the disease to become infected. Generally , the tick must be attached to a person for at least 36-48 hours.
- When an infected tick bites you the saliva gives off an anesthetic so you don’t even realize you are being bit. An anticoagulant is also spread through the tick’s saliva keeping the blood from clotting to keep feeding as it also suppresses the immune system.
- Ticks are active any time temps reach above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Young deer ticks are active from mid-May to mid-August. Adult ticks are most active from March to mid-May. So be aware and check for ticks from March-August to be on the safe side.
- Ticks do not fly or jump. They wait on vegetation and as you brush by they attach to you. Pay attention when in wooded and grassy areas.
- Wearing long a light colored, long sleeved T-shirts and pants will help see any ticks if they attach to you. Make sure you tuck in your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks to avoid a tick reaching your skin should one get on your clothing.
- If you find a tick, carefully remove it with tweezers. Grasp the mouth as close as possible to where it is attached. Do not crush or puncture the tick’s body as it may contain infected fluids. Pull firmly and upward to remove. You can always take it to your medical professional as well if you are worried.
- One or more of the following symptoms after you see the circular bulls eye rash in early stages of Lyme disease: multiple site rashes, chills, fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle or joint pain and swollen glands. In later stages symptoms can include: severe fatigue, stiff aching neck, tingling or numbness in arms or legs, facial paralysis, severe headaches, painful arthritis, swelling of the joints, heart problems or central nervous system problems.
- Treatment with antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover quickly and completely. But even if you treat it, a person may become reinfected if bitten again by an infected tick. The best treatment is awareness and prevention.
- There is currently no vaccine available for Lyme disease.
Did you know all 10 facts? Or did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments and help share the awareness of Lyme disease all month long. Stay tuned for a challenge to help spread the word.
Keep your lashes happy & body healthy!