Lyme disease, a serious bacterial infection, is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected black-legged tick (also known as a deer tick). The majority of Lyme disease cases occur in the spring and summer months when ticks are most active.
Lyme disease is a serious infection that can have potentially devastating consequences if left untreated. Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of other conditions, such as the flu or arthritis. If you think you may have been exposed to ticks or if you develop any of the symptoms associated with Lyme disease, it’s important to see your doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Lyme disease exists under our collective radar. We’ve heard about it, we might have a friend or family member who suffers from it, but very little attention is paid to it compared to other medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. This tick-borne illness, however, continues to infect people and cause profound pain and suffering.
In fact, according to recent statistics, Lyme disease has been shedding its “east coast only” reputation by showing up and rapidly growing in places like California, Oregon and Washington. But how would you know if you have contracted Lyme disease?
First off, Lyme disease symptoms manifest a week or two after initial infection, and present like the flu. The differentiating factor is often the presence of a rash somewhere on the body. Called a Erythema Multiforme rash, it often looks like a bulls-eye. But not everyone gets the rash, which makes it harder to diagnose, since many Lyme disease symptoms mirror symptoms that are common to other conditions.
After the initial symptoms, if the condition goes undiagnosed, sufferers can experience numbness in certain parts of the body, involuntary muscle spasms, impaired speech, and even difficulty walking.
There are over 100 strains of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, but the standard tests doctors use can’t detect all of them. Lyme disease testing technology has not evolved much over the years, which leads to many cases going undetected.
With over 300,000 Americans per year reportedly infected with Lyme disease, there should be a much more active discussion surrounding infection, treatment, and prevention. If you live in a heavily wooded area, protect yourself by:
- Conducting frequent tick checks
- Using tick repellents
- Wearing light-colored clothing that doesn’t expose your skin
If you think you might have contracted Lyme disease, or are currently looking for alternative methods for treating the condition, contact us today!