There is no panel matching the key "Alert"

Published on March 14, 2017

hiking

Tiny ticks can cause a BIG problem

Lyme's disease affects thousands of people every year. Here are some tips for preventing and identifying Lyme's disease.

The symptoms of Lyme disease – which is caused by a tick bite from a deer tick carrying the bacteria – can easily be overlooked or mistaken for something else. The telltale red bullseye rash at the site of the bite often appears where you might not see it – the groin, back of the knee, under the arm. Longer-term symptoms such as fatigue, headache, sore muscles and joints, or fever frequently aren't readily connected to Lyme disease.

If you recognize and treat Lyme disease early, you have a better chance of recovery. Most cases respond to antibiotics such as doxycycline. Untreated cases present more danger and can develop into a meningitis-type condition or arthritis. Lyme disease can even infect the heart.

Early treatment is vital. Relatively few patients develop what some call 'chronic' or 'post' Lyme disease, which can cause mental status changes and memory loss. Long-term antibiotics do not appear to help this condition.

Tips to Fight Lyme Disease

  • Know your enemy: The deer tick that typically carries the Lyme bacteria is the size of a pinhead and looks like a black spot on your skin.
  • Protect your skin: Spray uncovered skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is effective against ticks.
  • Control exposure: Cover as much of your body as possible when working or playing in wooded areas and examine your body carefully afterwards.
  • Avoid areas populated by ticks and deer in your community.
  • Consider commercial spraying on your property if you have wooded areas or erect a deer fence.

Copyright 2017 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

Share Your Story