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Lyme Disease Rash

Summary: Lyme diseae rash is caused by certain ticks found on deer and white footed mice. This malady causes humans to suffer flu-like symptoms and bull's-eye rashes. Dogs are also susceptible to Lyme disease, but can get vaccinated.

Lyme disease is an infection caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium. It is transmitted to people and animals from ticks. People living near forests or woods are most at risk for contracting this disease which most often occurs in summer or early autumn.

The first recorded cases of Lyme disease were discovered in 1975 in Lyme, Connecticut. The CDC states that about 17,000 to 20,000 cases of the disease are reported each year, but there are still many more people that do not realize they are infected. Lyme disease is the most wide-spread of any diseases that insects can spread in the United States. Although there can be severe reactions to the disease and permanent damage to joints and the nervous system, the disease is rarely fatal.

The deer tick (also known as the blacklegged tick) is the main carrier of Lyme disease in the United States. This tiny insect's favorite targets are jthe white-footed mouse and deer.

Here are some important facts to keep in mind about Lyme disease:

¢ It is passed through the saliva of ticks. If a tick bites you or an animal, it will remain attached to your skin so that it can feed on your blood. This usually takes about 24 hours to transpire. If you discover a tick on your skin, remove it immediately.

¢ Ticks can only transmit Lyme disease to exposed areas of skin. They cannot infect you if they are only crawling on your clothing and have not bitten you.

The first symptons of Lyme disease may be a rash resembling a bull's-eye (called erythema migrans, or EM). The Lyme Disease rash is flat and is typically a few inches in diameter. Some people do not get the Lyme disease rash, therefore making the disease harder to diagnose. Other early symptoms include muscle or joint pain, headache, fever, stiff neck, sore throat, and swollen glands. However, Lyme disease still may be hard to detect because these are all symptoms of the flu. In fact, some people may not show any symptoms of the disease in the first week or so after being bitten.

If Lyme disease is left untreated, secondary symptoms will likely appear. These include more EM rashes and severe, almost arthritic, joint pain. Facial paralysis and memory loss may occur.

GlaxoSmithKline developed a Lyme disease vaccine, but halted production of it in 2002. The company cited low demand for the vaccine as the reason for the termination, but some people claimed to have developed side effects from the vaccine. There is currently no Lyme disease vaccine available for humans. Fortunately, though, there are three vaccines available for use on dogs available from veterinarians.

There is no cure for Lyme disease, but it can be treated effectively if discovered early. Antibiotics, including penicillin and tetracycline, are usually prescribed to be taken for about a month for humans, as well as dogs. Make sure to carefully follow doctor's recommendations on the medication.

Tips to Avoid Lyme Disease:

¢ If you are going to an area in which ticks are prevalent, wear white or light-colored clothing. Small ticks can be seen easier if they jump onto your clothes and these ticks are like Mexican jumping beans because they will definitely jump on any area of skin that they can find.

¢ Try to cover all exposed areas of your skin (similar to going out in the sun). This will greatly reduce the exposure to ticks. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants. You may also want to wear boots.

¢ Piles of leaves make perfect homes for mice and the ticks they may carry. Rake piles of leaves away from your house.

¢ Before going into any wooded areas, spray your clothing with Deet to repel ticks.

¢ Mow your grass regularly. Ticks love spending time in tall grass, so keeping your yard neat will reduce the number of ticks near your home.

If you or someone you know has the flu in the summer or early Fall, you may want to suggest they go to a doctor. Because the flu symptoms are so similar to Lyme disease symptoms, it is important to distinguish between the two and the sooner Lyme disease is treated, the higher your chances are of not suffering serious or permanent effects from the disease.

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