Deer ticks transmit Lyme disease if they themselves are infected by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi). The tick can become infected with this bacterium if it feeds on an animal that is infected such as deer, mice, and other small rodents. Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans if bitten by the infected deer tick and fed on for 48 hours. Lyme Disease was first reported in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. Many more cases have been reported all over the United States and the prevalence continues to increase. It is most prevalent in the Northeast, upper Midwest and along the Pacific coast.

Lyme disease may be seen in three stages; Primary, secondary, and tertiary respectively. The signs and symptoms vary depending on the body part that was first infected. Also, everyone reacts different, which give more variety to symptoms. However, some common signs are a noticeable rash that radiates around the bite wound. It often starts as a small, red bump and can be warm and tender to the touch. The size of the rash varies with each individual, it can be anywhere from as small as your fingertip to 12 inches in diameter.  The radiating rings resemble that of a bull’s-eye.  The rash is the most common sign of Lyme disease among infected individuals.
Along with the rash, flu-like symptoms may be experienced. Fever, chills, fatigue, and body aches may occur. With this individuals might be annoyed with migrating joint pain. The pain increases if the infection goes untreated. Swelling is also one of the many signs of Lyme disease. Knees are commonly the most affected joint area detected however, the joint pain can jump from one joint to another.
Less noticed and reported by individuals, but certainly possible is neurological problems this is caused by inflammation of the membranes that sound your brain. This is also know as meningitis, which can then lead to temporary paralysis of one side of the face (Bell’s palsy). With this, numbness and/or weakness in limbs have been reported. The severity can increase resulting in impaired muscle movement after a few weeks. If left untreated, memory loss, difficulty concentrating and mood changes may be attributed to later stages of Lyme disease.

Some ways to prevent Lyme disease:
        1.    When outdoors, especially in wooden or tall grassy areas make sure to be properly clothed. Try to minimize the amount of open skin. Deer ticks are usually found in warm places and crevices on the human especially in the back of the neck around the hair line.
        2.    Do not let pets wander in wooded and grassy areas as they are a common host. If your pet is invested with ticks the probability the ticks will find you is very high.
        3.    Wear repellent when outdoors.
        4.    Become educated on the prevalence of ticks in your area.

However, if you become a host it is very important to follow proper tick removal techniques. I’m sure you are aware of the many myths in how to remove a deer tick such as putting nail polish or alcohol on the butt of the tick and waiting for it to back out. Or by lighting a match and then blowing it out and placing the match close to the ticks posterior end and again allowing it to back itself out. However, none of these myths are the best way to remove a tick.  When a tick is feeding on the skin of a host it has its mouthparts inserted into the dermis of the skin. If you try to pull the tick out and break the mouthparts off inside the skin this can still cause irritation. Deer ticks must feed on a human host for more than 48 hours in order to transmit Lyme disease. Therefore, if one notices the deer tick within the first 48 hours of attachment the risk for becoming infected is lower.  The proper way to remove a tick is simply by removing it with a tweezers of some sort. However, it is very important to get as close as possible to the mouthparts of the tick with the tweezers. It is also very important that you do not crush the ticks body.

 For more information on Lyme disease, proper way to remove a tick, what to do when you think there is a possibility for infection please visit MayoClinic.com




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