What is Lyme disease?

CJ Coombs

Even though summer is ending, ticks are still active in the winter, although their activity is associated with the temperature. If it's close to freezing, discovering one is less likely. That said, it's always good to be reminded to dress appropriately if you're walking through tall grass or hiking in the woods when ticks are in abundance. People sometimes take the subject of ticks lightly until they are diagnosed with Lyme disease.

The most commonly known type of disease caused by ticks is Lyme disease. The disease, itself, which is carried by ticks is caused by a parasitic microorganism, or bacterium, called Borrelia burgdorferi. A type of tick such as a Deer tick (see below image) can spread the bacterium when it comes into contact with humans and animals while feeding on them. The tick feeds and while doing so, it can spread disease. This is why it’s important to wear protective clothing, including a type of head covering when hiking through the woods.

How can a person catch Lyme disease?

Once you’ve been bitten by a tick carrying the bacterium of Lyme disease, that bacterium enters your skin. Once this bacterium is in your skin, it can eventually get into your blood. However, this tick has to feed for at least two days. If the tick is not feeding off of your skin, it is less likely that you contracted the disease. Many of us have seen a tick on our skin upon bathing or undressing, or someone else has seen it and it’s quickly removed. If the tick appears to be swollen, then it’s probably been feeding for some time and in that case, it’s important to know the symptoms of Lyme disease as well as contacting your doctor. The first time I spotted a tick on my leg, I was a fourth-grader and I had been playing in some nearby wooded area. I remember the effort taken to remove it and heard the only way to kill the tick was to burn it. I thought the whole process was repulsive, but my skin never developed a rash, nor did I ever incur any other symptom.

Can a person recover from Lyme disease?

If you’re diagnosed with Lyme disease at an early stage, there’s a strong likelihood you can recover with antibiotics. If it’s not caught in an early stage, you can take longer to recover.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

If you have Lyme disease, common symptoms include a rash, signs causing you to believe you might just have a bad flu, pain in joints, or symptoms that are neurological in nature. If you are aware of the area on your skin where you did have a tick and you notice it beginning to turn red with a rash surrounding the redness, you should call a physician. If you start running a fever or having other flu-like symptoms on top of having this rash, definitely contact your physician. If these symptoms go untreated and you notice your joints are beginning to hurt badly, especially in the knee area, it’s not good practical sense to procrastinate contacting a physician. There are a number of issues that can be experienced neurologically if the above symptoms are occurring.

What Could Happen If You Never Seek Treatment?

If you don't seek treatment, you can experience severe pain in your joints, especially in the knees. You could experience neurological symptoms, a memory deficit, or an irregular heartbeat. Always reach out to your physician to get appropriate answers to your medically related concerns.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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