Lyme disease or Borreliosis is a bacterial infection, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted through the bite of a deer tick. Deer ticks can be so small that they are impossible to see by naked eyes. Therefore, many people with Lyme disease have never even saw a tick. Ticks are actually a type of mite. Ticks vary in size and colour. Blacklegged ticks are very small. Before feeding, adult females are approximately 3 to 5 mm in length and are red and dark brown in colour; following a blood-meal, females become as large as a grape.
Lyme disease is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from person to person. Risk factors for Lyme disease include walking in grasses, other activities that increase tick exposure, and having a pet that may carry ticks home. A tick must get attached to a person for 2-3 days to pass on the infection. This is due to the life cycle of B burgdorferi in ticks. In previously infected ticks, only a small numbers of bacteria are present until tick feeds. Once the feeding begins, bacteria then multiply in gut of the tick. Then the bacteria migrate to salivary glands of the tick after 2-3 days. There, they are injected into the animal by the tick as soon as it ends its feeding. Until the multiplication occurs, ticks are rarely able to pass on the infection. LD is transmitted to humans by ticks. Larval and nymphal stages feed on the infected reservoir hosts, acquire organism and then, after moulting to next life stage, they pass on the infection to humans and other animals.
Lyme Disease symptoms may show up with a bang, or very slowly and innocuously. Patients may have an expanding rash, which may appear 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. This rash, called erythema migrans. There may be initial flu-like symptoms with fever, nausea, red eyes, jaw pain, light sensitivity, muscle ache and stiff neck. The late symptoms of the disease can appear months after the initial infection and can often progress in a cumulative fashion over time.
There are blood tests available for Lyme disease, but they have limitations. For example, it may take months for an infection to produce a positive result using anti body tests as the window period is more than a month. This situation is expected to change if the experimental tests fulfill their initial promise. In meantime, a diagnosis can be made on basis of the symptoms and likelihood of exposure to a tick bite.
Physical Therapy - Physical therapist can suggest the exercises that will help inflamed joints to retain function and to maintain mobility, but at the same time will not damage them. An occupational therapist can teach the new ways to perform daily tasks with less pain.
Tai Chi - Gentle movements of this ancient exercise routine can help to maintain flexibility and may also help to promote healing and a sense of well being.
The ideal self treatment to prevent Lyme disease is by avoiding tick bites. When walking in tick infested areas, wear light colored clothes on which ticks will be more visible, and spray them with peregrine. Apply insect repellant that contains DEET preferably in a concentration of less than 35% to exposed skin.
If you find a tick attached to your body, remove it promptly by grasping it with a pair of tweezers as close to the skin as possible and tugging gently. The sooner the tick it is removed, the lower the risk that it will transmit lyme infection. Place the tick in a closed container so that you can examin if you develop any symptoms.
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The author has rich experience in diagnosis and treatment of several diseases. He has written on Lyme Symptoms and Disease Symptoms .
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