Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria typically found in deer and relayed to human beings by deer ticks. The deer tick is found in grassy areas, so folks who work, play, and hike in these areas are at specific risk. Naturally, we find a bunch of those areas around Mexico and Columbia, Missouri. Orthopedic medicine has not found how long the tick should be in contact with the skin to transfer the disease.
Lyme disease was first described in 1975. It has been identified in almost all the fifty states. Most cases occur in men and women who live in, or have just recently traveled to, the Northeastern and upper Midwest regions of the country, including Central Missouri. People of any age can get it. Late spring and summer are peak seasons.
Tell your doctor if you travel to places of high risk for Lyme disease, particularly during summer months.
Taking preventative measures is very important to avoid getting this possibly dangerous condition.
- While hiking, remain on hiking trails and steer clear of deep grassy areas. Wear pants, long sleeve shirts, and high socks.
- Check for ticks on household pets and anybody who may have come in contact with high-risk areas.
- If a tick bite is suspected, get in touch with your family Mexico, Missouri physician without delay.
Symptoms are complex and often confusing.
The infection starts at the site of the tick bite. Most individuals do not remember a tick bite or finding a tick on their body.
There may be a red spot that looks like a target shape.
A rash develops at the site of the bite and infects other parts of the body (Erythema migrans).
In preliminary stages, Lyme disease causes flu-like symptoms of fever, malaise, rash, neck stiffness, and joint pain. These types of symptoms might take days or weeks to appear. Other symptoms include the chills.
Joints might become tender with very little swelling and no redness. The knee is the joint most frequently affected.
In later stages, the disease affects the heart and nervous system and induces Lyme arthritis.
See your doctor to diagnose Lyme disease.
They may utilize imaging studies to help make the diagnosis.
- In acute stages, X-rays of impacted joints might show soft-tissue swelling.
- In the chronic stage, indicators of swelling, joint fluid, and arthritis might be seen.
Utilizing just an analysis of the blood to identify Lyme disease can be difficult. The signs of inflammation, such as the white blood count, sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein is going to be higher, but this is true of other diseases besides Lyme disease.
Particular tests, like serologies, may take up to four weeks to six weeks to become higher than normal (elevated). An elevated serum titer indicates that the body is responding to an exposure to the bacteria. Nevertheless, the bacterial infection may have been cleared and so an elevated serum titer does not automatically reflect an active infection.
If joint swelling exists, a culture of the fluid may suggest the existence of an active infection, but is just positive about 60 percent to 70 percent of the time. A more sensitive test called PCR is being developed to detect the presence of the bacteria.
Lyme disease is generally suspected in an individual who has been exposed, has a tick bite, and has joint pain. In instances where it is unclear if the patient has been exposed, the physician will have to rule out other potential causes for the symptoms. These can include soft-tissue infections, septic arthritis, and rheumatologic diseases, such as juvenile arthritis.
Most cases of Lyme disease answer to a one-month course of antibiotics. The proper antibiotic depends on the patient's age, allergies, and special medical conditions (such as pregnancy).
The prognosis is excellent if the infection is identified early. Even with treatment, a small number of individuals can go on to develop chronic arthritis.
The prophylactic treatment for an individual presenting after finding a tick on their body is debatable. Talk with your physician. A vaccine has been created, but it is currently not recommended due to possible side effects.
Doctor Kathleen Weaver and her team at Audrain Orthopaedics in Mexico, Missouri would be happy to answer any further questions you have on this subject at (573) 582-0444.