Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans through the bite of infected ticks. The ticks pick up the bacteria when they bite mice or deer that are infected with lyme disease. You can get the disease if you are bitten by an infected tick. There are 3 stages of lyme disease.
is called early localized lyme disease. The infection is not yet widespread throughout the body.
Symptoms of early localized lyme disease (Stage 1) begin days or weeks after infection. The flu-like symptons include tiredness, headaches and muscle or joint pain.
is called early disseminated lyme disease. The bacteria have begun to spread throughout the body.
Symptoms of early disseminated lyme disease (Stage 2) may occur weeks to months after the initial tick bite. The symptons may include:
Paralysis or weakness in the muscles of the face
Muscle pain and pain or swelling in the knees and other large joints
Heart problems such as skipped heartbeats (palpitations)
is called late disseminated lyme disease. The bacteria have spread throughout the body.
Symptoms of late disseminated lyme disease (Stage 3) can occur months or years after the initial infection. The most common symptoms are muscle and joint pain. Other symptoms may include:
Abnormal muscle movement
Numbness and tingling
There is currently no vaccine to prevent lyme disease. In 2002, a vaccine was introduced in America but was later withdrawn because of concerns over side-effects. The best way of preventing lyme disease is to avoid being bitten when you are in wooded or heath areas known to have a high tick population. The following precautions might help prevent Lyme disease:
Wear a long-sleeved shirt.
Tuck your trousers into your socks.
Use insect repellent.
Check yourself for ticks.
Check your children and pets for ticks.
If you do find a tick on your or your child's skin, remove it by gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible, preferably using fine-toothed tweezers, and pull steadily away from the skin. Never use a lit cigarette end, a match head or essential oils to force the tick out.