Lyme Disease and Its Treatment

By: Corwin Brown

Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease spread through a tick bite. Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria spirochete. The disease is carried by deer ticks and western black-legged ticks (found mostly on the Pacific Coast). These ticks can spread the disease to animals and humans through tick bites. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by an infection from a micro-organism (Borrelia burghdor feri), itself transmitted by a bite from the wood tick, a blood-sucking parasite which normally lives on deer. The wood tick is found in many areas, particularly in forests where deer are common. A tick will settle anywhere on a human body, but prefers warm, moist and dark places like the crotch or armpits.
Try to reduce the use of repellents by dressing in long sleeves and pants tucked into socks or boots.

Do not apply near eyes, nose or mouth and use sparingly around ears. Do not apply to the hands of small children.

The number of ticks in endemic residential areas may be reduced by removing leaf litter, brush- and wood-piles around houses and at the edges of yards, and by clearing trees and brush to admit more sunlight and reduce the amount of suitable habitat for deer, rodents, and ticks. Tick populations have also been effectively suppressed through the application of pesticides to residential properties. Community-based interventions to reduce deer populations or to kill ticks on deer and rodents have not been extensively implemented, but may be effective in reducing the community-wide risk of Lyme disease. New approaches such as deer feeding stations equipped with pesticide applicators to kill ticks on deer, and baited devices to kill ticks on rodents, are currently under evaluation.
In some cases, antibiotics have been prescribed for people who have only vague symptoms or fear they may have had a tick bite. Some people who have a lot of anxiety and worry after a tick bite may be given antibiotics to try to prevent Lyme disease. These uses of antibiotics are controversial, and only done when the tick has been attached for at least 36 hours in a region with high risk of Lyme disease.

Experts familiar with the complicated nature of diagnosing Lyme advise that if a person has had a tick bite, or exhibits symptoms characteristic of Lyme, they consult a Lyme literate medical doctor (LLMD) and begin treatment, even if test results are negative or pending.

Doxycycline - bacteriostatic properties stops synthesis of bacteria replication. Inhibits bacterial protein synthesis. Amoxicillin - bacteriostatic properties do not kill bacterium, but do halt bacterial growth by inhibition of cell wall synthesis. Ceftriaxone - (intravenous therapy) bactericidal properties kill bacterium. Wear a hat and a long-sleeved shirt for added protection. Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily. Wash all clothes after leaving tick-infested areas, and bathe and shampoo your child thoroughly to eliminate any unseen ticks.

Do not apply near eyes, nose or mouth and use sparingly around ears. Do not apply to the hands of small children.

The best treatment for lyme disease is in the prevention. Ticks can be found in many different areas and are just waiting for the next warm body. Keeping your pets out of thick brush and high grass will help them from getting ticks, but there are many products on the market today that can in fact keep ticks off of your pets or kill these pests if your pet already has ticks.

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