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By Ceara Comeau

Lyme disease, the hidden epidemic

Borrelia Burgdorferi, the hidden epidemic most commonly known as Lyme disease, is among the most challenging and complex conditions to treat. With approximately 300,000 cases appearing each year and 300 strains worldwide, it has become an epidemic. The scariest part of this disease? A person can have it without even knowing.

How do people contract Lyme disease?

The disease is transferred through the bite of a tick, and they can be found in Europe and America-primarily in Northeastern states. Unlike poison ivy or other outdoor plant allergies, the health impact of Lyme disease on the human body can be severe and lifelong.

So, what exactly does a tick bite feel like, and how can you know if you have this dreaded disease? Well, that’s where things get tricky. First, not all ticks carry disease; unless someone finds a tick feeding on them and takes that tick in for testing, there is no way of knowing if it has the disease.

Ticks can climb onto a person or animal without them even knowing. They crawl at a plodding pace and love to hide in hidden areas of the body that are also warm. Because of their size and stealth, they can use their jaded mouths to clamp onto the person’s skin. It does take a while for the tick to feed on the person; sometimes, it can take days. It’s only when the tick burrows into the skin and begins to feed that the individual is at risk for it.

Lyme disease symptoms

When a tick is full of blood, much like a leech, it will fall off the body and can leave a mark if carried. This isn’t always the case, however. Only about 70-80% of people get this or another kind of rash. Instead, sometimes people can get flu-like symptoms, and most of the time, they won’t think anything of it since there is no physical evidence. Then there are the select few people who have and get aches and pains in different areas of their body. Nerves and joints are just another of the many regions that it attacks.

Treatment options

Unfortunately, there are no vaccines that protect humans from contracting Lyme disease.  Fortunately, there are some treatments, if implemented quickly.

Treating people who continue with life not knowing they have this disease becomes harder. In ways, it has a mind of its own and knows not only what areas of the person’s body are weak to begin with, but the disease knows how to hide.

There are two known methods of treatment. One way is through heavy antibiotics, and although this is the fastest way to cure a person, sometimes the disease will hide and cause the person to go into remission. But it could come back.

Then there is another way, a more natural route, if you will. That’s through natural and herbal remedies; this takes the longest to get rid of as there are steps a person must go through to cleanse their body of toxins before targeting the disease itself. Although these two methods have proved to be helpful, sometimes neither work and the person is left with a chronic case of disease.

This situation is highly disputed among medical professionals, but there have been cases where people have symptoms even after the treatments. In some extreme cases, there have been deaths reported for this condition. Between 2002-2007 approximately 36 people died from Lyme disease.

Easy steps for disease prevention

Clearly, this condition is not something to be trifled with, so what are some ways a person can protect themselves?

  • Use tick repellent.
  • Wear long clothing when going into tick-infested areas.
  • Try to avoid woods or areas with long grass.
  • Tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Check yourself as soon as you get inside.
  • Check your pets when they return from the outdoors.
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