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Lyme Disease: How to Prevent it and How to Identify it

Lyme disease can be a potentially devastating illness that is typically spread through tick bites. However, if it’s caught in time, 80 percent of people that are diagnosed with Lyme disease are able to recover fully through the use of antibiotics. The problem is that Lyme disease can be hard to identify. Although there are between 30,000 and 36,000 recorded cases of Lyme disease every year, experts believe that number is probably closer to 300,000.

Identifying Lyme Disease

If you’ve been bitten by a tick, then it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any symptoms related to Lyme disease as well as to the area around the skin where you were bitten. Typically, if you’ve been bitten by a tick that was carrying Lyme disease, a rash will appear that looks like a small target (a red ring with a red spot in the center). This rash will usually show up between three to 30 days following the tick bite and will gradually grow larger. However, it won’t itch or hurt.

Symptoms of Lyme disease are very similar to that of the flu, which is why Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as another problem. Some of the initial symptoms you might experience if you have contracted Lyme disease include fever, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, joint aches and chills. If it goes untreated, more serious problems can develop. These include joint pain and neurological problems that include meningitis (the inflammation of the membranes around your brain), Bell’s palsy (the temporary paralysis of one side of your face) and impaired muscle movement.

Preventing Lyme Disease

Because of how serious Lyme disease can be and how hard it can be to diagnose, it’s important that you do what you can to prevent it in the first place. The first thing you should do is to be careful in wooded areas during the summer months, when ticks are most prevalent. Wear long pants and long shirts to prevent ticks from latching on if you’re going for a walk, hiking or camping during the summer. If it’s too hot to comfortably wear long clothes, put a tick repellent on your skin. Effective repellents include lemon oil, DEET and eucalyptus.

If you are in the woods during the summers, make sure that you check for ticks afterwards. Remove any ticks you find right away. Even if a tick is carrying Lyme disease, an infection is much less likely if you are able to remove it within 36 to 48 hours. If you can, wash your clothes after a camping trip or a hike. Ticks can attach themselves to your clothes – but you can kill them with the heat of your dryer.

Urgent Care Center in Greensboro, NC

The last thing you want is to get infected with Lyme Disease. If you’ve developed the bulls eye rash following a tick bite, are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have been bitten by a tick and are worried, drop in at our MEDIQ Urgent Care facility in Greensboro without an appointment today.