Stage one: early localized Lyme disease. The infection has not spread throughout the whole body.
Stage two: disseminated Lyme disease. When the bacteria begins to spread throughout the body.
Stage three: late disseminated Lyme disease. The bacteria has spread throughout the entire body and is severe.
Having increased tick exposure from being outside doing your normal chores (for example: hunting, gardening, mushrooming, and mowing the yard) where Lyme Disease is known to occur can raise your risk dramatically. Also, walking in high grass or having a family pet which could carry ticks into your home. Typically, a tick will need to be attached to your body for approximately 24 to 36 hours because the bacteria will spread into your bloodstream. Blacklegged ticks are so small at times it's impossible to see them and high percentage of Lyme disease suffers never even saw a tick on their bodies. Luckily, most people who have come in contact and been bitten by a tick will not get the disease. That's a relief!
Most Lyme disease patients notice a 'bull's eye rash' or a red spot at the site of the tick bite. Often it has a clear area in the center and can be rather larger and expands in size.
Symptoms (begin days or weeks after infection):
- Body-wide itching
- General ill-feeling
- Light-headedness or fainting
- Muscle pain
- Stiff neck
Blood test are usually drawn to check for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme diease. Most commonly known as ELISA for Lyme disease test. And a western blot test is done to confirm the results of ELISA.
If your unlucky and end up with Lyme disease you will be watched closely for approximately 30 days. As soon as it's known you've come in contact with the disease you will be administered with antibiotics. Pain medications, such as ibuprofen, are often
prescribed to help relieve joint stiffness.
In early stages, Lyme disease can be cured with the antibiotics. Without proper treatment, complications arise involving the joints, heart, and central nervous system. It's rare that a person will continue having symptoms that may interfere with their daily life. However, it's known to occur and it's called post-Lyme disease syndrome. It's still unknown to why this happens.
To avoid Lyme disease:
- Stay away from bushy/wooded areas or places with high grasses.
- Try to walk towards the center of trails.
- Check your pets and yourself often before and after your walks.