Introduction to Lyme disease
Before bringing the readers to the gist of the topic we shall introduce them to a basic knowledge of Lyme disease to get a better understanding of this illness.
Lyme disease is one of the most common diseases on the Northern Hemisphere. It is an infectious disease, spread to humans by ticks infected with the bacteria calledBorrelia burgdoferi. Lyme disease sufferers experience a variety of symptoms, most notably the “bulls-eye rash,” as well as fever, headache, general malaise, headache, and fatigue as well as pains and swelling in the joints and muscles.
It can also affect the cardiovascular as well as the central nervous system. It is a multi-systemic disease, affecting even the ears or private parts; sufferers may also experience sensitivity to light, sleep difficulty, depression, and anxiety.
Unless the rash is present in the disease’s early stages, diagnosis of Lyme is quite difficult, as the symptoms are the same as those of many other diseases.
There is currently no potent vaccine to cure Lyme disease. Patients are primarily treated with antibiotics. The amount and the approach on the antibiotic application depend on the gravity of the disease in the sufferer.
But how about this “condition” called “chronic Lyme disease”? Is there really such an ailment that is even directly related to Lyme disease?
Lyme Disease – Characteristic Bull’s Eye Rash
The term “chronic Lyme disease” is highly controversial, as it’s been dismissed by doctors and is not accepted in medical terminology
Doctors point out that sufferers of “chronic Lyme disease” may have no direct evidence that they currently suffer or have suffered Lyme disease or that they have had lingering symptoms after they’ve been treated for Lyme disease.
Those who have undergone correct diagnosis and been given proper treatment (even those who have gone through a full course of antibiotic treatment) for Lyme diseases still suffer recurring symptoms such as a headache, fatigue, and aches in joints and muscles. These symptoms can remain for as long as six months or more.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS)
This condition, which is often mistaken as “chronic Lyme disease” should be correctly referred to as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS which is an actual disorder. It’s been initially suspected that PTLDS sufferers may harbor some hidden repository of the bacteria (that caused Lyme disease) long after the first treatment. However, findings show little evidence of this, and many conclude that the initial treatment may have many hazards that could harm the PTLDS sufferers worse than the Lyme disease itself did. On the other hand, many doctors believe that the initial infection may have compromised the patient’s autoimmune system; that leaves them weak and causes them to endure subsequent pains, even long after they’ve been given medication.
This condition may be too complicated to diagnose, as some people suffering the same symptoms may not have previously suffered Lyme disease at all. Other disease-causing organisms such as the Epstein-Barr virus can generate almost the same type of symptoms (as PTLDS has) and may be the real perpetrator.
Tips to avoid Lyme disease
In any case, having any disease is certainly debilitating to an individual, causing him or her to stop functioning normally and as well as have a reduced quality of life. Having Lyme disease in the first place is bad enough and the possibility of having a post-treatment Lyme disease disorder is extended torture indeed.
While the so-called “chronic Lyme disease” remains up in the air in terms of effective treatment against it, preventive steps are still the best way to avoid contracting the disease:
– Avoid walking in the woods and bushes
– If you have to go out in the woods or to do gardening, mowing, etc., wear protective clothing – specifically, long-sleeved shirts and trousers tucked into tight-fitting socks or boots. Wear light-colored clothing as well.
– Spray your skin with an insect repellent (with DEET, or lemon eucalyptus) as well as your clothing with permethrin
– Remove your clothing first before returning indoors
– Wash immediately and thoroughly as soon as you get back indoors, and check yourself carefully to see if there are any ticks on your body, most especially in skin folds.
– If there are ticks attached to your body, use tweezers to carefully and gently remove them. Then apply antiseptic to the affected area.
– If you have a pet, it’s best to have your dog or cat treated with routine vaccinations and a flea and tick repellent, especially if you live in a tick-infested area.
Further education about Lyme disease gives you more awareness about further prevention. It will not only save you from the initial infection, but also from the possible post-treatment Lyme disease disorder in the future.