Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by deer ticks. The bacterium, Borrelia burgdoferi, is introduced into a human or animal’s bloodstream when the infected tick bites them. It is a dangerous disease that often goes undetected due to other diseases that mimic its symptoms. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 300,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with this disease every year. This does not take into account the numerous cases that go undiagnosed or improperly diagnosed on a yearly basis. It is most common in children and older adults, in part due to their developing or compromised immune systems. Seniors are the most vulnerable to the severe effects of Lyme disease.
Symptoms usually appear within 3 to 30 days after being bitten by an infected tick. The first sign is often, though not always, a circular reddish rash around the area of the tick bite. It is commonly referred to as a bull’s eye. Other symptoms that soon develop include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, and muscle or joint pain as well as swelling. If left untreated, serious complications can result rather rapidly and include meningitis, arthritis, facial palsy or paralysis, nerve pain, short-term memory loss, and heart abnormalities. The first choice of treatment is antibiotics. Early detection is vital to successful treatment and a good prognosis.
Other diseases that mimic the symptoms of Lyme disease include chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and depression.
It’s important not to panic if you have experienced a tick bite. Not all ticks are infected; in fact, infection rates in certain areas vary from 0 percent to 70 percent. In order to prevent a tick bite, wear long pants and sleeves when hiking or walking in wooded or bushy areas and consider the use of a repellent. Ticks that have attached themselves to dogs can also migrate to humans. Dogs should be treated with tick repellent and checked when they come indoors. If you or your loved one find a tick, remove it with tweezers as soon as possible, wash, and apply an antibacterial ointment.
Elder Care Provider
If your loved one has experienced the effects of Lyme disease or needs assistance with the daily activities of living, consider obtaining the assistance of an elder care provider. These professionals can not only provide support with everyday tasks, they can also prepare healthy, immune-boosting meals, and provide transportation and assistance with daily errands. They also offer the companionship and support so important to those experiencing the changes that aging brings.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Westfield, NJ, call the caring staff at Helping Hands Home Care today at 908-418-4299. Providing Home Care Services in all of Northern and Central NJ, including Clark, Westfield, Cranford, Scotch Plains, Rahway, Linden, Summit, Edison, Elizabeth, Mountainside and the surrounding areas.
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