Lyme disease

    • Brief

    • Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. The symptoms include rash, high fever, general body pains and swollen lymph nodes.

      Your healthcare provider can diagnose this condition from your symptoms. They may recommend tests if your symptoms are similar to those of another condition.

      Your healthcare provider may recommend antibiotics and pain relievers. Some people may continue experiencing pain, confusion and tiredness even after completing treatment.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • Lyme disease symptoms may resemble malaria symptoms, but it usually comes with has a peculiar rash.

      • A non-itchy and non-painful rash around the site of the tick bite that spreads over days. The rash is round or oval shaped and, with the middle clearing out, resembles a bull’s eye.
      • Fever.
      • Headache.
      • Tiredness.
      • Joint pains.
      • Neck stiffness.
      • Irregular heartbeat.
      • Trouble sleeping.
      • Confusion or difficulty concentrating.
    • What are the causes?

    • Lyme disease is caused by an infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria are carried by ticks and are transmitted through tick bites.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • You are more likely to catch lyme disease if:

      • You work, live or spend time in grassy areas or areas with overgrown bushes and trees. These are the places where ticks often live and where they can attach themselves to you.
      • A tick remains attached to your skin for more than 48 hours.
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • If you have been bitten by a tick and you have symptoms similar to those outlined above, see your healthcare provider immediately.

    • How to prevent?

      • You can prevent being bitten by ticks by:
          • Wearing long sleeves and trousers when you go into an area where ticks are likely to live. Tuck you trousers into your socks. You may want to wear light coloured clothes to spot ticks more easily.
          • Using permethrin 0.5% (an insecticide) on work clothes and boots.
          • Putting insect repellants (spray or cream) containing DEET on your skin can stop ticks from getting on you and biting you.
          • Remaining vigilant: always check your clothes and  body after having been in an are where ticks are likely.
          • Remove ticks from your skin immediately when you find them.
      • Prevent ticks from climbing on household pets or domesticated animals. You can dust dogs with permethrin. Don't do this with cats, as permethrin is highly poisonous to them.
      • Keep your environment clean and clear overgrown bushes.
    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-care tips:

      • You can use over-the-counter pain relievers (e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen) for mild to moderate pain.
      • It is important to prevent tick bites by wearing long clothing when you go out into affected areas and by checking for ticks when you return home.

      Treatment options:

      • You may be given an antibiotic for your condition. Usually, you will be given a medicine to be taken by mouth.
      • If your condition affects the nerves in your face or brain, your healthcare provider may recommend injections of antibiotics.
      • Heart symptoms like fast heart beats, light headedness and chest pain, or joint symptoms like pain and stiffness, unexplained by other conditions can be due to lyme disease. Your healthcare provider will treat these with antibiotics, and pain relievers where appropriate.
    • Kulawa cares

    • Lyme disease may sometimes have long-term impacts on your health. This is called post-treatment lyme disease syndrome. This is usually experienced as chronic pain, tiredness, and confusion often lasting many months after treatment is completed.

      There is no known treatment for these long-term complications. You will get better over time. Speak to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and they will advise you about managing these symptoms at home.

      Do not take antibiotics without your healthcare provider's prescription. This may make future infections that you have more difficult to treat.