Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) is an infectious disease caused by several species from the genus Borrelia. The infective agents are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. The early symptoms of Lyme disease are fever, headache, fatigue and a typical circular skin rash medically known as erythema migrans. If the infection is left untreated it may progress and affect the joints, the heart and central nervous system. In it's initial phase, the infection can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Delayed treatment simply may not be able to deal with all the complications. The damage to certain organs can be irreversible.
Lyme Rash Characteristics
As it has already been mentioned the rash is one of the initial characteristics of the disease. Lyme rash (erythema migrans) is in a form of a swollen blemish circled by a red rash. Its diameter is approximately 5-30 cm. Lyme rash develops at the site of the thick bite generally a week or two after the bite. It may linger for 3-5 weeks.
Together with rash a patient may complain about intensive headache and muscle ache, enlarged regional lymph nodes and fatigue. In case these symptoms and signs occur one is supposed to inform a doctor who will initiate most suitable treatment as soon as possible and this way eradicate the disease on time.
Treatment for Lyme Disease
The first thing a doctor does is confirmation of the disease. One of the problems with Lyme disease is that the symptoms may initially resemble those found in flu and the disease can be neglected. To confirm the illness doctors use ELISA test as well as Western blood test.
The treatment in initial stage of the disease includes oral antibiotics. Majority of patients are treated with doxycycline. This particular antibiotic is not administered in pregnant women and children under the age of 9. They are prescribed a suitable substitute (amoxicillin and cefuroxime). Timely administration of antibiotics can successfully kill all the bacteria and prevent long-term complications. The effectiveness of antibiotics only works in the initial stage of the disease.
Prevention of the disease includes prevention of tick bites. Since these insects inhabit woods and crowded grasslands one is supposed to wear appropriate clothing each time he/ she is in the particular area. Children and pets are more susceptible to tick bites and this requires more attention. Pets are supposed to be checked regularly for tick bites. Insect repellents can be of additional help if one is in dangerous area. And finally, after a person has been in an area which may contain ticks he/ she is supposed to check the entire body for potential bites.