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Let’s Talk Ticks & Lyme Disease

Recently a patient came into the clinic with a bullseye rash from a recent tick bite. Since the bite and rash occurred over the weekend, she immediately went to the closest urgent care facility and was given a prescription for antibiotics.

Was this the right thing to do?  Was she informed of possible symptoms relating to Lyme disease? Do you know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease?

Ticks are eight legged parasites that attach themselves to their host’s skin and feed on its blood. Naturally, we are all aware of how ticks, especially the deer ticks can also cause Lyme disease, and hence there is all the more reason to fear these parasites as well. Lyme disease causes a bullseye rash (Erythema migrans) that looks similar to a red target mark.

The history of the disease can be traced back to 1975 in United States, where the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis started being seen in large number of cases in Lyme, Connecticut area. This gave it the name for which it is well known today. Owing to the uncurbed deer population, the number of deer ticks in the region started to increase. More and more cases of tick bites became prevalent in these parts. The lone star or deer tick causing the disease came closer to human residences where people were apparently bitten while mowing their lawns, hiking in wooded, grassy regions or through their family pets.

The bullseye rash is seen in nearly 8 out of 10 people following a tick bite. However, most bites tend to go unnoticed since the ticks are very small. The ticks transmit an organism called Borrelia Burgdorferi which enters the host’s bloodstream. Following an incubation period of few days or weeks, a reddish target like mark starts to appear in the bitten region.

Lyme disease symptoms usually occur in phases:

It starts off as a target shaped bullseye rash that grows and spreads. The typical period for this localized rash to appear is 3-30 days. Nearly 7 to 8 out of every 10 bitten individuals develop this rash.

Other symptoms of Lyme’s include:

Lyme disease is called the great imitator since it mimics many diseases and most people are not even aware of being infected initially. Nearly 60% people who do not get treated immediately following the bullseye rash tend to develop lifelong joint problems and arthritis. Nearly 5% of untreated patients develop neurological symptoms, shooting pains, memory problems, and numbness in hands or feet for months or years following the tick bite infection.

It is best to seek the guidance of a healthcare expert. You must provide them with the exact details regarding how you might have been infected. You may also consider having labs done to confirm diagnosis. The area where you live and the tick bite bullseye rash will be the greatest clues that can help your doctor determine exact diagnosis and course of action to take.

Call Real Health Medical for a free initial consultation  678-990-5401 or email info@realhealthmedical.com.

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