Ask the expert: With Lyme disease on the rise, here’s how you can protect yourself


The unfold of sicknesses from mosquito, tick and flea bites greater than tripled from 2004 to 2016 in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has known as an rising public health threat. While new illnesses similar to Zika have popped up lately, outdated stalwarts like Lyme disease are additionally affecting extra individuals. Dr. Kalpana D. Shere-Wolfe, an assistant professor of drugs at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the Integrated Lyme Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, talks about how individuals can protect themselves from Lyme disease this summer time.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a tick-borne sickness brought on by the micro organism Borrelia burgdorferi. The an infection is transmitted by a tick known as Ixodes scapularis.

What are the signs?

Early in the an infection individuals might expertise fever, headache, fatigue, swollen glands or a pores and skin rash known as erythema migrans, or a bull’s eye. Even although the rash is indicative of Lyme disease, it is very important bear in mind not everybody develops a rash — solely about 70 to 80 % of oldsters do.

In days to weeks after the preliminary chunk, the an infection can have an effect on the coronary heart, nervous system and joints. People might expertise joint pains that migrate or transfer from joint to joint, headache, stiff neck, facial palsy, nerve ache or sensory modifications, enlarged spleen, sore throat, irregular coronary heart beat or palpitations.

Months later, sufferers can expertise intermittent assaults of joint swelling and ache, often in massive joints like the knee. People can additionally develop encephalopathy, or delicate cognitive modifications.

Is this the time of 12 months medical doctors start to see extra instances of Lyme disease?

Yes, Lyme is most typical in spring and summer time months — the highest variety of instances often happen from May to September.

How is it recognized and why is it typically onerous to detect?

Most individuals suppose Lyme is recognized by a blood check and that isn’t true, particularly in early disease. Lyme analysis relies upon on signs, bodily findings, tick publicity historical past and lab exams. Because the micro organism is tough to tradition, we rely on a serology blood antibody check to assist us. The CDC recommends two-tier testing, which implies an ELISA antibody check; if constructive or equivocal, then a Western Blot check. The Western Blot check measures your physique’s antibody response to Borrelia antigens.

Typically when we have now an an infection, our physique first produces IgM antibody that takes about 4 weeks to be constructive. IgM antibiodies are the first antibody produced when you are contaminated with new micro organism. It rises first earlier than the IgG [also an antibody] after which declines after a couple of weeks. They often start to seem one to 2 weeks following tick chunk and peak round three to 6 weeks however then decline over subsequent few weeks/months. Only 30 % of individuals with Lyme disease can have constructive IgM after an infection in the first few weeks, however after 4 weeks about 70 % can have constructive IgM. The IgG check will probably be constructive in most sufferers with Lyme disease for 4 to 6 weeks. IgG are additionally antibodies, however they take longer to turn into detectable they usually often will final a few years, often a long time or perhaps a lifetime.

In what methods may individuals be placing themselves in danger in the event that they don’t know they’ve the disease?

Untreated Lyme an infection in symptomatic individuals can result in disseminated an infection to the coronary heart, nervous system and joints.

Why do you suppose we’re seeing an increase in Lyme disease and different tick-borne sicknesses?

It isn’t clear why that is occurring. It could also be associated to local weather modifications and a rise in tick inhabitants in addition to deer and mouse populations. Fragmentation of forests the place there are fewer predators can end in a rise in the mouse inhabitants, which carry Borrelia — the ticks that feed on the mice can then be contaminated. These ticks can then go the an infection to people.

How lengthy does a tick must be hooked up for a person to contract Lyme disease?

Thirty-six to 48 hours of feeding is often required for a tick to have fed after which transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

How can individuals stop contracting Lyme disease and different tick-borne sicknesses?

You can stop Lyme disease by eliminating publicity to ticks, however that isn’t all the time potential. You can lower your threat by the following measures:

If potential, keep away from tick-infested areas. Ticks like humid moist areas in wooded and grassy areas. That’s why in addition they like moist, humid elements of the human physique like the armpits and groin areas.

Wear sneakers or sneakers as a substitute of sandals and lengthy pants. Ticks can’t fly or leap. Instead, they anticipate a number, resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs, after which connect on. They are often nearer to the floor, so carrying lengthy pants and tucking pant legs into socks, and carrying sneakers as a substitute of sandals, is smart too.

Keep to the middle of the trails.

Use insect repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) or permethrin, however with warning. Check the CDC web site about which insect repellent is true for you.

Do each day tick checks if out in the woods usually. Look particularly in the groin and armpits. In young children, they can even be discovered on the head and neck, so remember to verify there as properly.

Adult ticks are roughly the measurement of a sesame seed, and nymphal ticks are roughly the measurement of a poppy seed; most individuals are contaminated by nymphal ticks.

Shower after being outside to scrub off ticks and likewise discover ticks extra simply.

Infected ticks must be hooked up 24 to 72 hours earlier than transmission of the spirochete [bacteria] happens. Removal of a tick inside 24 hours of attachment is often ample to stop Lyme disease.

If a tick is in place longer than 36 hours, then a single, 200-mg dose of doxycycline often prevents Lyme disease when given inside 72 hours after the tick chunk happens.

You can additionally discourage deer out of your yard.


Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *