Snake Bites - Could it be YOU? It could be you!
Killer Bees On My Trails?
BEAT THE HEAT
BEAT THE BONK
MIKE'S TRAINING TIPS
GET THE LATEST ON West Nile Virus
LYME DISEASE ** Mountainbikers** Be smart and learn how to prevent it!
The shaded areas of the above map of the U.S. show where the Lyme disease organism is present. If you live in one of these shaded areas, then you should know about Lyme disease and this section is for you. Note that the disease is prevalent in the Northeast, from Massachusetts to Maryland, the North-central states, especially Wisconsin and Minnesota, and on the West Coast, which includes Utah and Northern California.
Lyme disease is an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a member of the family of spirochetes, a corkscrew shaped bacteria. Lyme disease is spread by the bite of ticks of the genus Ixodes that are infected with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. What happens is that the tick will feed on a deer or mouse or other mammal and uptake the spirochete. If it then bites a human, it may transmit the disease into your bloodstream (you now have the spirochete in you!).
Ixodes ticks (called Deer ticks in the Northeast) are much smaller than the common dog or cattle tick. The nymph stage of this tick is most often responsible to spread the disease to humans. Ticks in this stage are very small, about the size of a period. They are difficult to detect on your body without a close inspection. After they attach to you, they usually don't spread the infection until 36-48 hours have passed. It is important to remove them before they swell up and become engorged with blood. If taken off quickly, they may leave a small red mark from their saliva for a few days and this is like a mosquito bite. It will go away and you are not infected. The larval stages of this tick usually do not carry the disease, and the adult ticks are easier to see and more likely to be removed earlier. The main threat of transmission of the disease is with the nymph stage and while small, the ticks in this stage appear like a small freckle and can be seen and sometimes felt when they are attached.
Ticks search for host animals from the tips of grasses and shrubs (not from trees) and transfer to animals or persons who brush up against the vegetation. They are mainly found in areas of tall grass, meadows, and open fields with tall vegetation and not so much in wooded areas or under the forest canopy. Campers, hikers, backpackers, horsebackriders, and mountainbikers are all at risk for this disease. Also, it is possible that these ticks exist on your own property, and may be carried to your lawn or garden by other animals.
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because it's signs and symptoms are varied. Usually you get arthritis like symptoms and fatique. You can also have headaches and feel just "washed out". Look for a red "bull's eye" rash around where the tick has bitten you. Sometimes the rash is visible a few eeks after the bite, and other times it doesn't occur at all.
If you find a lyme tick on you, remove it carefully. If iyt has been on you for less than 24 hours, you probably won't get the disease. A course of antibiotics, usually Doxycycline, is given to combat the symptoms and effect a cure. The sooner you take it the better if you have the disease. In difficult cases, it must be given over a prolonged period intravenously.
Prevent the disease by wearing white clothing, checking yourself often while in the woods, using insect repellant, and changing out of clothes that might harbor the ticks.. Comb your hair, take a bath or shower, and give yourself a close inspection if you think you may have been exposed. Have a friend or spouse examine your back. The ticks are very small, and difficult to see. If you have a large tick on you, it probably is not a Lyme tick.
The vacinne has not proven very effective & may be dangerous for some individuals, but if you suspect the disease, then call your Doctor and get the proper treatment.