QUICK HEALTH TIPS: Lyme Disease
This disease takes its name from the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, where it was first identified in 1975. Since that time, the locations and the number of cases of Lyme disease have continued to increase. Over 15,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported in the United States every year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, though they say the disease is greatly underreported.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the U.S. The bacteria that causes it, spirochetes called BORRELIA BURGDORFERI, are transmitted by the deer tick (carried by deer and mice) in most places. In several counties along the northern Pacific coast of California, however, they are transmitted by the closely related black-legged tick, which is also carried by wood rats. Both deer ticks and black-legged ticks are very tiny; an adult tick is less than one-tenth of an inch long, and the nymph is the size of a pinhead. Because they are so tiny, they often go undetected. They feed on many types of animals, including birds, chipmunks, cows, horses, cats, dogs, lizards, and jackrabbits. The ticks fall off one host animal into grasses in marshes or fields, or into brush in wooded areas, from which they can be picked up by an unsuspecting passerby, whether human or animal, who becomes the next host. Those most likely to be infected are people who spend time outdoors, and the majority of cases occur in the summer and fall.
After a tick bites, it waits several hours before it begins to feel on the host`s blood, and once it does, it feasts for three or four days. The first sign may be the appearance of a red, circular lesion or rash on the skin. This is caused by the migration of the infecting organism outward through the skin, and it may appear anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after the bite. The lesion gradually expands in a circular pattern, while the center appears to clear up. For this reason, it is often referred to as a bull´s-eye rash. In addition to the rash, achiness, backache, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, flulike symptoms, headache, muscle weakness, stiff neck, and occasionally, nausea and vomiting may occur.
Because the tick bites are usually painless , the incubation period is so long, and the symptoms so varied, the disorder may go unrecognized for weeks or even months. Lyme disease is treatable and almost always curable if found in its early stages.
A simple test has been developed to identify Lyme disease.
Include plenty of garlic in your diet or take garlic supplements. It is a natural antibiotic and immune booster.
Use “green drinks” to provide chlorophyll, which aids in detoxification, and other valuable nutrients and enzymes.
If you develop a bulls`-eye-type rash anywhere on your body, see your health care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment is essential.
Take hot baths or whirlpool treatments. Heat relieves joint pain.
When spending time outdoors, wear long pants and tuck them into your socks. Wear a long-sleeved shirt with a high neck, plus a hat and gloves. Use an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothing, your neck, and any other exposed area except your face. DEET is extremely toxic. Be extremely careful when using it, especially if you are around small children.
After spending time outdoors, check yourself carefully for any small raised bumps and for pinpoint-sized specks on clothing. Do this right away; the longer a tick is attached, the greater the risk of Lyme disease.
- Anthony R