Lyme disease is caused by the bite of a black-legged tick that is infected with corkscrew-shaped bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. The ticks become infected with these bacteria by feeding on infected wild animals such as deers, birds and rodents.
Once infected, the ticks go on to spread the bacteria to humans and other animals, particularly dogs, with a painless bite.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease can surface after weeks, or even many years from a bite, that one would not even link the symptoms to a tick bite that wasn’t even painful.
Symptoms of Lyme disease can include any of the following, although they differ from person to person. If left untreated, these symptoms can last from months to years.
Early signs and symptoms (first few weeks after a tick bite):
- skin rash around the bite site
- flu-like symptoms
- fever or chills
- sore throat
Later signs and symptoms (weeks or months after a tick bite):
- muscle spasms
- severe headaches and neck stiffness
- extreme fatigue
- shooting pains, numbness or tingling sensations in limbs
- swollen lymph nodes
- blurry vision, eye pain or swelling
- night sweats or unexplained chills
In more severe cases, these symptoms may be crippling:
- brain fog, state of confusion or memory loss
- difficulty breathing, eating, talking and sleeping
- abnormal heartbeat
- intermittent pain in tendons, joints, muscles and bones
- partial body paralysis
- nervous system disorders (even seizures)
More About Ticks
A full grown tick can be the size of a pea. They are often found among tall grass and bushes and can easily attach on to human legs/clothings or animals passing by. Ticks become active when the weather warms up from spring through fall.
Ticks are small, blood-sucking bugs. They are arachnids—from the spider family—(not insects), and thus have eight legs.
Tick bites are often harmless and may not cause noticeable symptoms. However, bites from infected ticks can be dangerous or even deadly.
Ticks like warm and moist areas of the body. Once they get on your body, they move on to look for a desirable spot, bite and draw blood. Unlike insect bites, ticks remain attached to your skin after biting, and grow larger in size from the blood drawn.
At the time of drawing blood, the Lyme-infected tick will plant the borrelia bacteria deep into the skin and into the blood stream, causing an infection.
Lyme disease is becoming one of the fastest emerging infectious diseases in North America that is moving northward from endemic areas of the United States towards southeast Canada.
Prevention Is Best
If you know that you will be venturing into forests or overgrown areas where Lyme-infected ticks are found, here are some ways you can protect yourself when you’re outdoor:
- Avoid walking through wooded and bushy areas with tall grass.
- Wear light-colored clothes to spot ticks easier.
- Wear closed-toe shoes and pull sock over pant legs.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts or use an insect repellent.
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming from outdoors (within 2 hours) to wash off and find ticks that may be crawling on you.
- Check your children and pets thoroughly for ticks that may hide under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button and in their hair.
- Examine clothings and/or put them into a dryer on high heat to kill ticks, if any.
If You’ve Been Bitten
Ticks attach themselves to the skin. By removing them soon enough—within 12 hours—you may be able to prevent infection. Do not panic and rub off or crush the tick as this may break off the mouth-parts and leave the sting in the skin. Crushing the tick with your fingers may also get the bacteria on your fingers.
As with insects that bite/sting, the poison or bacteria is in the sting. You can carefully remove the tick to minimize the impact of the bite.
- Use a fine-pointed tweezer, and with a steady hand, grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible.
- Slowly pull the tick straight out without twisting or jerking to prevent the mouth-parts to break and remain in the skin.
- If the mouth-parts are already broken, try to remove them as much as you can without causing further distress to the affected area.
- Clean the bite area with alcohol or a disinfectant. Undiluted apple cider vinegar can work as a natural disinfectant as well.
- Put the dead tick in a sandwich bag, write the date you were bitten, and take it to the doctor when you start experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Important Note: What The Tick Expert Says
A biologist who is an expert in tick anatomy and biology, spent his lifetime studying insects and ticks/mites all over the world. He has this to say:
A tick detaches if we irritate it, try to smother it or rub it off. You cannot smother a tick as they need only very little oxygen. It would take days, not minutes. If you make the tick detach by itself, it has to dissolve the “cement” that holds their mouthparts in the skin.
They secrete the “cement” into the skin when they first attach. That is why it takes some force to pull a tick out—their mouthparts are glued in the bite wound. So they have to dissolve the “cement” to get away. They do this by regurgitating stomach contents into the bite wound.
Since the Lyme bacteria (spirochetes) and other pathogens (Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Babesia, Bartonella, and many others) stay down in the tick’s stomach for some hours after the tick attaches, you don’t want the tick to bring up the Lyme and inject it into you. If you pull the tick off the right way, before the pathogens move up out of the stomach and into you, that won’t happen, and you won’t get sick.
If you make the tick detach itself by applying Vaseline, shea butter or coconut oil (as many sites suggest), you have a good chance of getting very sick for the rest of your life. The best approach is to do a thorough tick check at least every 12 hours (more often is better), and pull that tick off using a safe method.
Don’t fool around, don’t wait, and don’t ever make the tick detach itself.
If You Are Battling Lyme Disease
If you’ve been infected by the lyme virus, have you heard that cannabis has been used by many to reduce the painful and debilitating symptoms of lyme disease? It is something that you may find worth exploring.
Studies have shown that cannabis can kill infections. It can be used to treat and reduce the debilitating symptoms of lyme disease. In fact, a book has even been written about it.
The author of the book, Shelley White, discusses her own experience battling with lyme disease as well as how she was able to successfully use cannabis to reduce the symptoms.
Cannabis is effective in addressing peripheral neuropathy, a crippling condition which is common in individuals who suffer from lyme disease.
Cannabis is a safe alternative to address symptoms of lyme disease; otherwise patients are left with opiates that can be addictive and even ineffective to deal with their pain.
It should be noted though that lyme disease can affect people differently; some may be easier to treat than others. Regardless of how serious or which stage the disease is in, cannabis has already been proven to treat pain, eliminate seizures, and make it easier to sleep; valuable properties that make it a blessing for those who are diagnosed with these dreaded diseases.