With Justin Bieber’s admission that he has Lyme disease, attention regarding this tick-borne disease increased. Since the first reported case in 1991, the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease has increased to around 300,000 per year.
Lyme disease used to be limited to states in New England, but the infectious tick has spread to several other states over the years. It’s now found in states along the East Coast and in the Upper Midwest. It all starts with a deer tick bite. Here are six things you should know.
You can’t get Lyme disease if you remove the tick within 36 hours of it biting you. After coming in from gardening or a walk in the woods or a field, have your parents take a shower and check them over for ticks.
Singer Avril Lavigne was one of the first celebrities to bring difficult symptoms to light. She admitted she was bedridden for five months. She dealt with joint pain, headaches, and exhaustion. There were days she couldn’t stand up to shower without having someone supporting her.
People often think of Lyme disease as having the red bulls-eye rash. Not everyone develops that rash, so it’s not a fool-proof way to decide if you have the disease. Only 70 to 80 percent of those who go on to develop the disease get the rash.
There is no cure for Lyme disease. You may find the right treatments to be symptom-free, but the bacteria will always be present in the bloodstream.
Until the bacteria has been in the bloodstream for several weeks, you may get negative test results. It takes up to six weeks for the body to develop enough antibodies to trigger a positive Lyme test.
Keeping ticks off your body is the only way to avoid Lyme disease. Wear a tick repellent when you’re out walking or working in your garden. Wear light clothing where your pants are tucked into socks and shirt is tucked into your pants. Before you go inside, have someone check over your clothing for the tiny black insects.
If you or your parents are bitten by a tick and don’t notice it until days later, see a doctor. Bring the tick with you if possible. Immediate treatments with antibiotics will help.
If your mom or dad has Lyme disease, supportive care at home is one of the biggest ways to help. Have elderly care aides available to cook their meals, help them with personal care and grooming, and drive them to medical appointments. An elderly care agency can discuss pricing with you.