As I go for jogs through the state parks, I am enjoying the cool spring breeze and the scenery. What I am not enjoying is the possibility of Ticks. I work in pest control and most things that get someone to jump on a tabletop and test the upper limits of their voice box don’t even phase me. Ticks do. It is silly. I know that it takes a tick a while to even decide where to nestle in and latch on. After that, it takes 36-48 hours for the tick to transmit any disease. Seeing a tick crawling should not induce panic, but it does. Ticks are not just out in the woods, they can ride right into a person’s front yard. While ticks carry a host of diseases, the most common concern is Lyme Disease. Here are the signs and symptoms of untreated Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease Basics
Lyme disease is carried by and spread by ticks. It is caused by the Borrelia bacterium. It is an infectious disease called Lyme borreliosis. Early signs may show up anywhere from 3-30 days. If left untreated, symptoms may continue to show up for months after the bite.
It is important to understand that there is a lot of overlap between Lyme disease and other diseases.
Early Signs and Symptoms
The earliest signs of infection are related to the localized bite and corresponding infection before it spreads to other systems.
- Erythema Migrans (EM) – This is the infamous bullseye rash. Keep in mind it does not always take this form. This will spread gradually and rarely causes pain or itch.
- head/body aches
When comparing the symptoms to other similar infections, note that it does NOT typically include respiratory symptoms or nausea.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Disseminated Infection
Depending on the individual, the infection may spread to other body systems within a few days to a few weeks after infection. If it spreads through the blood or the lymphatic system, signs may show up in areas significantly distanced from the bite site such as:
- Other EM rashes in other parts of the body
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
Neuroborreliosis is a combination of neurological problems that can include any one or more of:
- lymphatic meningitis – change sin cerebrospinal fluid that ma bring headaches, light sensitivity or a stiff neck
- cranial neuritis – inflammation of cranial nerves that may affect blinking & vision and/or chewing and other facial muscles
- radiculopathy – inflammation of spinal nerve roots that can alter sensation including numbness or weakness in corresponding parts of the body
- mononeuritis multiplex – inflammation in unrelated peripheral nerves
Late Signs and Symptoms of Infection
Chronic symptoms may develop in individuals who do not receive proper treatment for the infection such as:
- Lyme arthritis
- Lyme encephalopathy – inflammation of the brain or spinal cord impacting brain function and memory
- Acrodermatitis chronic atrophicans (skin symptoms)
- heart palpitations or arrhythmia
- other symptoms may include swelling, pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands and feet
Avoiding Lyme Disease
Since it takes time to transmit the disease from a tick to a person, a thorough inspection and careful removal of ticks is the best prevention. In addition, wearing proper clothing outdoors and the use of repellants can reduce the number of tick encounters. If you are having issues with ticks in your yard, reach out to a tick expert at Rove Pest Control for a free consultation.