Lyme disease is caused by bacteria and spread by ticks. It is estimated that 65,000 people a year in Europe catch it. Infections are most prevalent in Spring and early summer. Long grass where animals have been are particularly likely to harbour the ticks. They crawl to the top of grass looking for a host to feed on. Your bare bottom may be just the thing they are looking for!
The most common sign of infection is an expanding area of redness on the skin, it begins at the site of a tick bite about a week after it has occurred. Generally, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours before the bacteria can spread. In most cases, a rash occurs which is neither itchy nor painful about 25–50% of infected people do not even develop a rash. Symptoms may also include fever, headache and lethargy. So if you do find a tick the sooner you remove it the better.
If untreated, symptoms can be serious and long-lasting. They can include joint pains and swelling, severe headaches, inability to move one side or both sides of the face and heart palpitations amongst other things. These symptoms can reoccur for years afterwards. Occasionally, people develop shooting pains or tingling in their arms and legs.
Despite appropriate treatment, about 10 to 20% of people develop joint pains, memory problems, and feel tired for at least six months.
Diagnosis is based upon a combination of symptoms, history of tick exposure, and possibly testing for specific antibodies through the blood test is not very accurate and often negative in the early stages of the disease and Doctors will not wait for the positive blood test before starting treatment.
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