Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease2017-06-19T19:53:10+00:00

REPORT THIS DISEASE TO COBB & DOUGLAS PUBLIC HEALTH
AT: 770-514-2432

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WHAT IS IT?

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted to people by ticks. The bacterium species is Borrelia burgdorferi. The Black-legged Tick (Ixodes scapularis) is a vector for Lyme disease. This tick is also known as the deer tick. A tick bite is usually painless and many people who develop Lyme disease do not remember being bitten.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle/Joint Aches
  • Swollen Lymph nodes
  • Stiff Neck
  • Erythema Migrans (EM) Rash/Bullseye
  • Shortness of breath
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Speech Problems

These symptoms usually occur within 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. Late stage symptoms usually occur within days to months after the tick bite.

HOW CAN I PREVENT CONTRACTING THIS DISEASE?

Patients treated with doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil early usually recover completely. The antibiotics are usually taken for 14 to 21 days. The longer a tick is attached to the human host, the more likely it is to transmit a pathogen. The tick needs to be attached for at least 24 hours to cause Lyme disease. Removing a tick improperly can also play an important role in contracting a tick-borne illness. To remove a tick:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Not all ticks carry diseases, but see your doctor if you develop any symptoms within 30 days of a tick bite.

The best way to prevent disease is to prevent tick bites.

  • Avoid dense woods and brushy areas.
  • Use insect repellents that contain 20 to 30% N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET).
  • Use permethrin on clothing.
  • Wear long pants and socks.

Check physically for ticks after outdoor activity.