Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is caused by a bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, and can affect the skin, heart, and nervous system.  The prevalence of Lyme Disease is increasing and most commonly affects people 5-19 and 55-69 years old.  The transmission of Lyme disease is dependent on ticks.  The ticks spread the bacteria while feeding which is what occurs once a tick attaches to your skin. The most robust transmission occurs  at 48-72 hours after the tick attaches. Removing the entire tick is recommended to discontinue feeding and the transmission of bacteria.

It is common to have mild skin irritation at the site of the tick bite, but one of the first signs of Lyme disease is a large circular red lesion at the bite site that appears 1-3 weeks after transmission.  It important to see a healthcare provider if you have redness near the bite site or unsure if the area looks normal.  Lyme disease can be diagnosed by blood work or clinical appearance.  The most common treatment for Lyme Disease is antibiotics.  It is vital to treat Lyme Disease early to avoid heart, joint and nervous system complications.

Prevention is key in avoiding Lyme Disease and other tick borne illnesses.   The most effective and commonly used tick repellent is DEET.  Deet-based insect repellants in concentrations of 30% or less can be used on children as young as two months.   Using long-sleeved shirts and long pants in addition to DEET applied over the clothing can decrease the likelihood of getting bitten by a tick. Checking your body for ticks after being in a tick-infested area is suggested.