You may have heard of Lyme disease, but you may not know much about it. It seems to be getting more attention from the media because of celebrities, such as Debbie Gibson and Avril Lavigne, talking about their battles with the disease. Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks in most part of the United States, and by black-legged ticks on the West Coast. Since it is summer and many people spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s good to learn about this disease, which is treatable but very difficult to diagnose. It’s symptoms mimic other other diseases leading doctors to diagnose it as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and even depression. If you feel like you should be tested for Lyme disease, you can always come to any of our Houston and Austin ERs for 24 hour emergency care for quality, compassionate care.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Because Lyme disease is the “Great Imitator”, the symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases, so you should monitor symptoms closely. If not treated early, Lyme disease can be chronic and can affect the brain and nervous system, muscles and
joints, heart and circulation, digestion, reproductive system, and skin. Symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, and joint pain)
- Bulls-eye-shaped rash
- Bell’s palsy (facial drooping)
- Neck pain
- Sleep issues
Treating Lyme Disease
Despite the controversy surrounding the treatment of Lyme disease, the good news is that it can be treated. There are two approaches to treating Lyme disease: a short course of antibiotics and individualized treatment based on the severity of
symptoms, the presence of tick-borne co-infections, and patient response to treatment. Patients should be given sufficient information about each treatment option, including the risks and benefits.
There are precautions you can take to prevent getting Lyme disease. Wear long pants and long sleeves when walking in wooded areas where ticks live. Use insect repellents with a 20% or higher concentration of DEET. Check your kids and
pets for ticks, especially after spending time in heavily wooded areas. If you find a tick on your body, remove as soon as possible by gently grasping the tick with tweezers near its head. Don’t squeeze or crush the tick, but pull carefully, and once removed, dispose of it and apply antiseptic to the bite area.
Be very vigilant when camping or hiking this summer so you can avoid contracting Lyme disease. If you experience any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, see a medical professional immediately. Stay safe this summer!
Neighbors Emergency Center offers 24 hour emergency care in Houston and Austin 365 days a year, and our board certified emergency physicians can treat all medical emergencies. We know you’re time is important, so we will treat you quickly and effectively so you can get back to doing what you love. If you are looking for a quality emergency room with little to no wait time, come to Neighbors Emergency Center.