Ticks: What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease

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How common is Lyme disease in certain geographic regions?

Ticks and Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know

Ticks are vectors for potentially serious illnesses and can lead to Lyme disease, an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is most commonly spread to people through the bite of an infected tick. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including general aches and pains, if left untreated. To prevent Lyme disease, it is necessary to understand the habits of ticks and take the necessary measures to protect yourself, others and your pet.

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Tick Habitats and Reproductive Habits

Ticks live in tall grass, woodlands and other areas where they can easily find warm-blooded hosts such as pets and humans. If you are heading to a wooded or grassy area, it is essential to stay on trails and avoid brushing up against vegetation. To prevent ticks from hitching a ride into your home, take the following steps immediately after coming indoors:

  • Shower and examine yourself for ticks
  • Check your pets for ticks
  • Wash your clothing in hot water

Preventing of Lyme Disease

In addition to taking preventive steps in tick-prone areas and examining yourself immediately after spending time outdoors, you may also consider taking the following steps to prevent Lyme disease:

  • Place a tick-deterrent in your yard, such as a mixture of garlic, lemon, and orange essential oils
  • Check yourself, your family and your pets for signs of ticks every day
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tick preventative medications suitable for your pet
  • Wear protective clothing and use tick-repellent sprays

Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

If you experience any of the following symptoms of Lyme disease, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash at the site of the tick bite
  • Achy, joint or muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Stiff neck

How Lyme Disease is Treated

Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a course of antibiotics. A doctor may prescribe doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime for mild cases, and for more severe cases, you may be prescribed intravenous antibiotics. Treatment should begin as soon as possible to prevent more serious symptoms from developing.

It is important to be aware of the potential risks of Lyme disease, recognize tick habitats and take preventive steps to keep yourself and your pet safe. Regularly check yourself and your pet for sign of ticks, and if you have any symptoms of Lyme disease, contact your doctor right away.