Lyme disease is a very dangerous disease that is carried by ticks. Ticks transmit the disease by biting into its host and passing on the bacteria. If Lyme disease goes unnoticed and therefore untreated, the consequences can be catastrophic and even fatal. Therefore, you must perform regular tick checks when you come in contact with tick infested environments, and you must keep a keen eye out for identifying physical symptoms. The first symptom to look out for is a rash at the sight of the bite. The rash is one of the earliest symptoms and appears similar to a bull’s eye target with a solid colored center and then expanded circular outlines further from the center. However, sometimes the rash will take on an oval or triangular shape instead. This rash is called erythema migrans and is an extremely common symptom that develops in most cases. The rash can vary in sizes from small to extremely large. As time goes on, the rash can expand and be accompanied by other rashes on different parts of the body. In addition to the rash, also in the early stage the victim can experience flu like symptoms. These include fever, stomach and body aches, fatigue, and stiff muscles.
As the infection grows, so do the symptoms. The nervous system can begin to become affected and can result in consequences such as affected moods and sleeping habits, difficulty concentrating, and memory loss. This can also lead to the temporary paralysis of facial muscles, meaning that you will have a hard time controlling your facial expressions. This is known as Bell’s palsy, and is often accompanied by poor coordination and/or weak or aching limbs. In some cases, an accelerated or irregular heartbeat is also developed. The most serious symptoms, however, occur in the later stage in the joints of your body. Arthritis, or joint inflammation, is especially prevalent in the elbows and knees of victims and can even become chronic. This makes mundane, every day physical movements extremely difficult and painful. Lastly, eye inflammation, severe fatigue and shortness of breath are rare but possible effects of Lyme disease in the later stages. If diagnosed and treated early, most Lyme disease can be defeated by antibiotics. However, the longer the bacteria spread, the more difficult the disease is to treat with antibiotics. For this reason, it is essential to understand the early stage symptoms and to always be alert for tick bites. For more information on pests and relatable health consequences, EHS professionals can be a valuable resource.