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What Is Lyme Disease?

Updated on March 23, 2013

The most commonly known type of disease caused by ticks is Lyme disease. The disease, itself, that is carried by ticks is caused by a parasitic microorganism, or bacterium, called Borrelia burgdorferi. A type of tick such as a Deer tick (see link below for image) can spread the bacterium when it comes into contact with humans and animals while feeding from them. The tick feeds and while doing so, it can spread disease. This is why it’s important to wear protective clothing, including a type of head covering when hiking through the woods.

Ticks attach themselves to the skin and feed on blood until they swell.  If the tick is carrying bacteria, that bacteria can spread onto the animal or human.
Ticks attach themselves to the skin and feed on blood until they swell. If the tick is carrying bacteria, that bacteria can spread onto the animal or human.

How Can A Person Catch Lyme Disease?

Once you’ve been bitten by a tick carrying the bacterium of Lyme disease, that bacterium enters your skin. Once this bacterium is in your skin, it can eventually get into your blood. However, this tick has to feed for at least two days. If the tick is not feeding off of your skin, there is less likelihood that you contracted the disease. Many of us have seen a tick on our skin upon bathing or undressing, or someone else has seen it and it’s quickly removed. If the tick appears to be swollen, then it’s probably been feeding for some time and in that case, it’s important to know the symptoms of Lyme disease as well as contacting your doctor. The first time I spotted a tick on my leg, I was a fourth grader and I had been playing in some nearby wooded area. I remember the effort taken to remove it and heard the only way to kill the tick was to burn it. I thought the whole process was repulsive, but my skin never developed a rash, nor did I ever incur any other symptom.

Can A Person Recover From Lyme Disease?

If you’re diagnosed with Lyme disease at an early stage, there’s a strong likelihood you can recover with antibiotics. If it’s not caught in an early stage, you can take longer to recover.

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

If you have Lyme disease, common symptoms include a rash, signs causing you to believe you might just have a bad flu, pain in joints, or symptoms that are neurological in nature. If you are aware of the area on your skin where you did have a tick and you notice it beginning to turn red with a rash surrounding the redness, you should call your doctor. If you start running a fever or having other flu-like symptoms on top of having this rash, definitely contact your doctor. If these symptoms go untreated and you notice your joints are beginning to hurt badly, especially in the knee area, it’s not good practical sense to procrastinate contacting a physician. There are a number of issues that can be experienced neurologically if the above symptoms are occurring and you subscribe to not contacting a doctor.

Deer ticks go crazy in the summertime and don’t just prey on deer; they feed off of humans and other animals including cats and dogs and as disgusting as it sounds, mice.
Deer ticks go crazy in the summertime and don’t just prey on deer; they feed off of humans and other animals including cats and dogs and as disgusting as it sounds, mice.

What Could Happen If You Never Seek Treatment?

If you don't seek treatment, you can experience severe pain in your joints, especially in the knees. You could experience neurological symptoms, a memory deficit, or irregular heartbeat.

Comments

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  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    moonlake, thanks very much for your comment and visit. Have a good day.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 

    5 years ago from America

    Lots of Lyme disease in our area with people and dogs. We often find the little ticks. Great information on your hub. Voted up.

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    PDX, thanks very much. Have a great week!

  • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W Price 

    5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

    Shared this interesting article on those nasty little critters!

  • profile image

    Ginger Ruffles 

    6 years ago

    I heard that as well this week ytsenoh. Time to maybe make regular tick checks, after being outdoors, a part of your routine now even if you never have before.

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Tilsontitan and Ginger, thanks much for your comments. I just heard today that since we had such a mild winter in the Midwest, that we can expect to see more ticks this summer.

  • profile image

    Ginger Ruffles 

    6 years ago

    Timely information, thanks. A friend was bit last year, never saw the tick but it left a "perfect bulleye" alerting her to get treatment in time.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    6 years ago from New York

    You provided some good information on Lyme, something we're hearing more and more about. There seem to be ticks everywhere anymore and knowing the facts as you have stated them is definitely helpful. Last year my dog was diagnosed with Lyme but a quick course of antibiotics cured him. I removed a tick from my husband just two days ago. The best way to remove ticks is with a tweezer held right against the skin and pull up and out quickly. If the tick breaks apart, do it again to make sure you get the head out.

    Voted up, useful and interesting.

  • Frank Atanacio profile image

    Frank Atanacio 

    6 years ago from Shelton

    Y thank you so much for this share here in Connecticut the deers are running in piles.. carrying these ticks.. it's difficult doing yard work fearing the ticks. but it has to get done and this hub is a tool we can use bless you :)

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Vespawoolf, thank you for your comment. I understand. In fact, when I was was out walking tonight, I avoided the tree area under which you should wear a cap. It's really good to snag it in time if you can. I hope your mother and friend's child continue to recover.

  • vespawoolf profile image

    vespawoolf 

    6 years ago from Peru, South America

    Lyme disease is a hot topic. Both my mother and the son of a friend were diagnosed with it. A series of antibiotics finally has it under control. And still, it is one of the most undiagnosed disease in the U.S. The public needs to be educated...thank you for sharing.

  • misshill profile image

    misshill 

    6 years ago from United States

    I heard of the disease but never knew where it came from. I enjoyed reading your article.

  • Neil Sperling profile image

    Neil Sperling 

    6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

    Good info - I live in an area where there is lots of ticks. the deer ticks are said to be the worst carriers of lyme disease and since they are so tiny can be hard to see.

    Thanks

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Algarreview, thanks much for your comment.

    Emilybee, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.

    Faith, thanks for your comment, much appreciated.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    6 years ago from southern USA

    Informative, as there always seems to have been a lot of misconceptions about exactly what it is for sure. Thanks for writing this insightful hub. In His Love, Faith Reaper

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Thanks for the visit and read, Tams. Hope you have a great week.

  • Tams R profile image

    Tams R 

    6 years ago from Missouri

    Useful hub. I personally know someone with Lyme disease. It makes her so tired she barely gets up anymore.

    Definitely something to take seriously!

  • emilybee profile image

    emilybee 

    6 years ago

    I got Lyme disease when I was very small, when walking through tall grass to see my older brother play baseball. When dressing me later, my mom spotted the target symbol on my stomach - which is a huge indicator of lyme disease or tick bites. Then I was in an incubator for a while where my family could't touch me and just watch me through the glass. I've often heard that the small ticks, like the one that got me, are the ones with more cause to be fearful of. Great hub, very informative, too.

  • algarveview profile image

    Joana e Bruno 

    6 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

    Hello, I had never heard of this disease, good to know. Great information and hub. Have a great day!

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Teacherjoe, thanks for your comment as well as helpful advice! Much appreciated. Have a good upcoming weekend.

  • teacherjoe52 profile image

    teacherjoe52 

    6 years ago

    We give our dog some brewers yeast and garlic every day.

    With all our dogs they have never had fleas or ticks.

    I eat it as well and am hardly bothered by mosquitoes or other bugs.

    I was a tee planter for eleven years and used this. To me it is better than deet.

    Might be worth a try.

  • ytsenoh profile imageAUTHOR

    Cathy 

    6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    Thanks for your comment, Melis. A friend of mine has been diagnosed with Lyme disease and she had spent a fair amount of time in her life hiking and in wooded areas. If we're in the woods, it's important to perform a tick check.

  • Melis Ann profile image

    Melis Ann 

    6 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

    Lyme disease is an important topic. I've been told that a rash is only sometimes visible, and if there is a rash, it may not appear in the same location as the bite occurred. With Lyme disease, it seems nothing is standard.

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