LYME DISEASE: SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT, & PREVENTION
Lyme disease is transmitted through the bites of infected ticks. Find out where ticks live, how to remove ticks, and how to help protect your family from this insect-borne illness
WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease is transmitted through the bites of certain types of infectedticks, such as the deer tick, which is commonly known as a black-legged tick. Arm yourself with the information you need to fight these bloodsucking pests.
LYME DISEASE PREVENTION
Reducing your family’s exposure to ticks is your best defense against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses like Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Help protect yourself and your loved ones by following these Lyme disease prevention tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:1
Avoid grassy, wooded, and brushy areas where ticks like to hide. And be sure to walk in the center of the trails to help reduce your exposure to ticks.
Use an insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin on exposed skin and clothing. Get tips forhow to apply bug repellent on kids and babies.
Buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. You can also treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
Check your clothes, gear, and body for ticks after spending time in tick-infested areas, including your own backyard.
Remove ticks attached to your body immediately. See below to learn how to remove a tick.
Shower within two hours of coming inside. This has been shown to effectively reduce the risk of Lyme disease.
Ask your veterinarian about tick-prevention products for your dogs and cats.
Learn more aboutpest control and pets.
WHERE IS LYME DISEASE MOST COMMON?2,3
If you live or spend time in wooded or grassy areas where ticks carrying Lyme disease thrive, you're more likely to contract the disease. According to the World Health Organization, Lyme disease is most common in: .
Northwestern, Central, and Eastern Europe
The United States, particularly in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest regions
LYME DISEASE SYMPTOMS4
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary widely, depending on the stage of the infection.
In the early stages of the disease (3 to 30 days after a tick bite) the symptoms of Lyme disease may include:
Muscle and joint pain
Swollen lymph nodes
Within days to months after being bitten by an infected tick, Lyme disease symptoms may include:
Tingling, numbness, or shooting pains in the hands or feet
Periodic pain in muscles, joints, tendons, and bones
Additional rashes on the body
Dizziness or shortness of breath
Short-term memory problems
Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
Always consult your physician if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
LYME DISEASE RASH
Approximately 70 to 80 percent of people with Lyme disease experience a bullseye-like rash called an erythema migrans (EM) rash.4
LYME DISEASE TREATMENT5
The good news is that most people with Lyme disease recover if treated with oral antibiotics within a few weeks of infection. People with more advanced forms of the disease may require intravenous antibiotics.
HOW TO REMOVE TICKS
If you find a tick attached to yourself, your family members, or yourpets, try not to panic! However, it is important to take quick action because your chance of getting Lyme disease is reduced if the tick is attached to the skin for less than 24 hours.6 Just follow these easy tips to remove a tick and help protect your loved ones from ticks that may carry Lyme disease:7
Grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible using a fine-tipped tweezers.
Pull the tick upward slowly and firmly. Don’t twist or jerk the tick because this can cause part of its mouth to break off and remain in the skin.
If part of the mouth breaks off in the skin, try to remove it with the tweezers. If you can’t remove the mouth easily with tweezers, that’s OK. Just leave it alone and let the skin heal.
After removing the tick, clean your hands and the tick bite area thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Never crush a tick with your fingers after removal to avoid infecting yourself with tick-borne disease, such as Lyme disease.8 Instead, dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, flushing it down the toilet, placing it in a sealed bag/container, or wrapping it tightly in tape before putting it in the trash.
LEARN MORE ABOUT LYME DISEASE
To learn more ways to help safeguard your family and pets from Lyme disease, visithttps://www.cdc.gov/lyme/.
This is provided for your information only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Should you have any symptoms or concerns, please contact your doctor.
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