If an animal carrying the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease has been bitten by a tick, the tick can also become infected. The tick can readily transfer the bacteria to humans via bites.
The ticks are typically found in any areas with overgrown or deep vegetation where they can easily access animals to feed on. They are quite common in moor and wooded areas but also present in parks or gardens. Take note that ticks do not fly or jump but climb on skin or clothes if an individual brushes against something they are on. The ticks bite into the skin and start feeding on the blood. Generally, an individual is more likely to become infected if the tick stays attached to the skin for more than 24 hours. Since ticks are small and the bites are not painful, many do not realize that there is one clinging on the skin.
Who are at risk?
Individuals who spend a lot of time in moor or wooded areas are at risk for developing Lyme disease. Most cases of tick bites occur later in spring, early summer and autumn since these are the times when many partake in outdoor activities.
It is believed that only a small population of ticks carries the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, thus being bitten by one will not trigger an infection. Nevertheless, it is vital to be well aware of the risks and seek medical care if the individual starts to feel unwell.
Treatment for Lyme disease
If the individual develops the symptoms of Lyme disease, he/she is normally given a course of antibiotics whether in capsule, tablet or liquid form. Many individuals are usually given a 2-4 week course depending on the stage of the condition.
Once the individual is given antibiotics, it is vital to complete the course even if he/she starts to feel better since this will guarantee that all the bacteria are eliminated. If the symptoms are severe, the individual is referred to a specialist so that antibiotic injections are administered.
Take note that some of the antibiotics utilized in managing Lyme disease can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. In such circumstances, the individual should avoid extensive exposure to the sun and avoid using sunbeds after the treatment is completed.
- Stay in the designated foot paths and avoid marching in areas with long grasses while hiking
- Wear appropriate clothing in areas that might be infested by ticks.
- Use light-colored fabrics to easily spot a tick
- Always use an insect repellant on exposed skin.
- Check the skin for ticks especially at the end of the day including the neck, head and skin folds. If there are any ticks, they should be removed right away.
How to removal ticks
Once you discover a tick, you have to remove it by gently holding it as close to the skin as possible using a fine-toothed tweezers. Steadily pull away from the skin without crushing or twisting the tick.
Wash the bite site with soap and water after the removal and apply an antiseptic cream on the skin around the bite. Remember not to use alcohol or petroleum jelly to force the tick out.