Thursday, November 4, 2010

What is Lyme Disease?

Well in hindsight I should have made this post before my last one...since my life was absorbed by this disease for some time I forgot that others may not have a clue what this disease is. I didn't have a clue what it was 5 yrs ago.

I'll try to keep it short as I don't want Lyme to be the only topic I discuss on here but it is something very important to me and it's critical that others are aware of this disease and how it is caused!

According to our public health agency :

What is Lyme Disease?
"It is an illness caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, which can be spread through the bite of certain types of ticks. Lyme disease in humans can have serious symptoms but can be effectively treated. Lyme disease has been reported in parts of Europe, Asia, and throughout much of North America. "

How does one get Lyme disease? "Ticks get infected when they feed on mice, squirrels, birds and other small animals that can carry the bacterium. Ticks then spread the bacterium to humans. Two types of ticks are responsible: the western blacklegged tick in British Columbia and the blacklegged tick, sometimes called the deer tick, in other parts of Canada. People can’t spread Lyme disease to each other."

What are the symptoms? "The symptoms of Lyme disease usually happen in three stages, although not all patients have every symptom. The first sign of infection is usually a circular rash called erythema migrans or EM. This rash occurs in about 70-80 percent of infected people. It begins at the site of the tick bite after a delay of three days to one month. Other common symptoms include fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes.

If untreated, the second stage of the disease can last up to several months and include central and peripheral nervous system disorders, multiple skin rashes, arthritis and arthritic symptoms, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, and general weakness.

If the disease remains untreated, the third stage can last months to years with symptoms that can include recurring arthritis and neurological problems. "

With our deer population in NB going up (obviously some deer from our American border are making the journey over to us), Lyme has become a very serious issue in our province. You may have seen posters and TV and Radio ads talking about Lyme this year. It's an issue and you need to be educated about it.

Get out and enjoy our beautiful forests but just protect yourself and be aware. I now have deer sleeping in my backyard and running through my back lawn daily, so I need to be vigilant with checking my dog and my children but I refuse to let it stop us from enjoying our outdoors!

Thanks for your time! Next post won't be as serious...I'll lighten up.

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