April is National Pest Management Month and the goal is to bring awareness to the importance of pest control professionals and their commitment to protecting our families from the serious health risks associated with the pests that invade our homes.
Lyme Disease is spread by pests the disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted by tick bites and can pose serious health risks if it is left untreated. This disease attacks the skin, heart, nervous system and joints over a period of three phases.
The first phase of Lyme disease is called early localized disease and takes place at the site of the bite. When an infected tick bites the skin and transmits the bacteria that causes Lyme disease the first sign is a red, bull’s eye shaped rash. The Lyme disease rash usually shows up within days of the bite, but in some cases it can take weeks for any symptoms to show. The Lyme disease rash also called erythema migrans, starts at the site of the bite and begins to expand in a ring shape away from the site. The rash is often referred to as a bull’s eye rash due to the appearance of a red outer ring that forms around a clear area of skin and ends with a red inner circle that spreads from the site of the tick bite. This rash will grow and at times can get quite large before it begins to dissipate.
The rash is usually the first indication of the illness and headache, body aches, chills, fever and fatigue often accompany it. However, as many as 3 out of 4 people may never experience the rash, leading to misdiagnosis as the flu or a viral infection. After about a month, the rash will disappear even without treatment, but the disease itself is not gone. The bacteria will continue to spread throughout the body, resulting in the onset of phases two and three.
Lyme disease rash that is left untreated can eventually cause serious complications in the later phases of the disease. The illness affects the heart muscle, causing inflammation that can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and even complete heart failure.
Lyme disease also affects the nervous system, where it can cause paralysis of the facial muscles, meningitis, confusion and abnormal sensations as a result of the disease attacking peripheral nerves throughout the body.
Another common complication of the Disease is joint pain, stiffness and swelling leading to arthritis. If the Lyme disease rash was ignored or was never evident, this type of arthritis is usually diagnosed as being a typical case of inflammatory arthritis and can become chronic as a result.
The disease can be treated and the means of treatment often depends on how long the disease has been left untreated. If the disease is in the early stages, it can usually be treated with a 14 – 21 day course of oral antibiotics. If the disease is in the later stages and involves the nervous system, it may require a 14 to 28 day course of intravenous antibiotics to completely eliminate the infection in its entirety. Even after the infection is gone it may still take much longer for all of the symptoms to go away. In some cases, even after treatment and recovery time there may be an autoimmune response that allows the symptoms to continue indefinitely. If this happens there is no known treatment that will completely get rid of the symptoms.
Lyme disease is a dangerous condition that results in long-term health complications and misdiagnosis if left untreated. It can be difficult to know if you have been bitten by a tick due to some of them being as small as the period at the end of this sentence. Even though you may not see the actual tick that bit you, if you develop the Lyme disease rash or a rash that resembles it is important that you contact a doctor to prevent long-term health problems. The severity of the Lyme disease can vary from person to person and it can sometimes take years before the more serious, life threatening symptoms can arise.