Hello everyone! Since May is Lyme Disease Awareness month I wanted to post some basic information for all of my readers about the disease. Unfortunately this topic is something I know all too much about, since I have been battling Lyme and related co-infection for many years. Most people are aware that Lyme disease is caused by a deer tick, but most people do not know that many other animals and insects can transmit the disease much more readily than deer. Today I am going to give you a basic introduction to Lyme disease and talk a little bit about the various animals which can be carriers of ticks and Lyme. *This post contains affiliate links.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is defined as an inflammatory disease characterized at first by a rash, headache, fever, and chills, and later by possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders, caused by bacteria that are transmitted by ticks.
If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated in the first six weeks, it WILL be a chronic, disabling condition over a period of years. The bacteria Borellia burgdorferi are extremely stealth and cannot be killed by simple antibiotics once they have set up shop in the human body!
It would be simple enough to treat if every person who gets bitten by a tick develops a bullseye rash. Then ER physicians would immediately prescribe the necessary initial 28 day round of Doxycycline that will kill the bacteria in the early stages. Unfortunately, MOST people DO NOT develop a bullseye rash or any symptoms whatsoever until a couple of months later.
Normally they have forgotten the tick bite altogether, and they mistake the Lyme symptoms as some type of flu or virus. By this point the Lyme spirochetes (corkscrew shaped bacteria) have burrowed their way into joints and organs and areas where antibiotics can no longer cross the blood brain barrier, and chronic long term Lyme disease has begun.
Lyme disease is nothing short of literal nightmare. It can be missed for years because it mimics so many other illnesses and is very difficult to detect in the blood in later stages because the blood no longer produces an antibody to the bacteria. In addition to Borrelia, ticks can transmit 200+ other pathogens (even Epstein Barre, Mycoplasma Pneumonia, and different strains of herpes). Bartonella is one of the disgusting little buggers that often hitch a ride alongside Borrelia.
Pretty nasty list huh? Bartonella is no fun. Trust me, I have have experienced nearly every symptom on this list (I was diagnosed with Bartonella in 2013.) Even though I am a lot better, I still deal with at least half of these symptoms on a daily basis. In general, Bartonella, Babesia, Enrichilica, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Anaplasma are referred to as “Lyme disease” along with Borrelia.
This is just a basic introduction to Lyme and some of the terrible health consequences associated with contracting this insidious disease. I will be sharing more details about specific testing and treatment options in the future.
Lyme Disease Prevention
Most people are aware that Lyme disease is caused by a deer tick, but most people do not know that many other animals and insects can transmit the disease much more readily than deer. Mice are the number one culprit! Even if you live in an city apartment, you are still at risk for contracting Lyme disease!
Of course many other rodents and wildlife such as raccoons can carry ticks and other dangerous diseases as well. If you have an issue with any of these in your yard or home, visit Wildlife Removal Services for details on how to do this safely without harming yourself or the wildlife.
Snakes…friend or foe?
Most people want absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with snakes, but they are actually our friends when it comes to Lyme disease. Studies show that timber rattlesnakes can drastically reduce the populations by feeding on rodents and small mammals which carry ticks. So think twice before killing every snake you see! Nevertheless we want them to stay outside our homes!
The good news is that snakes are fairly easy to keep out of the home. If you are worried about snakes and rodents coming close to your home, a thorough inspection of the home and garden should be carried out, looking for any space small enough to admit a slithering body. Seal visible holes with caulk or weather stripping. Keep your lawn well maintained as snakes are attracted to the cover provided by long grass. You should also keep piles of firewood as far from the house as possible and above ground if you can. Woodpiles, rotting leaves and garden debris are also some favorite hiding spots for ticks.
Of course the first thing to remember is to always well tick repellent when you will be outdoors! Also do a thorough tick check anytime you have been outdoors, especially if you have been working in the garden. Lyme ticks are extremely small!
Mosquitoes also carry Lyme, so keep spraying that bug spray and do not let mosquitoes breed anywhere near your property!
I hope you have found this post informative and that it will help you understand the seriousness of this disease. I will be following up this posts in a Lyme disease Awareness series, so if you or anyone else you know would like to learn more about Lyme disease and how to prevent and treat it, be sure to subscribe by email. You can also leave a comment or email me with any questions or concerns you may have. The most accurate, trustworthy, and comprehensive source about Lyme disease can be found at ILADS.org if you would like to research this topic further.
Stay safe friends!