Lyme disease, it’s not just for the east coasters!
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in North America and Europe.
A disgusting burrowing parasite latches on to you and infuses your blood with nasty Borrelia burgdorferi …all while you were trying to get a good hike in for the day.
Deer ticks, which feed on the blood of animals and humans, can harbor the bacteria and spread it when feeding. If you have traveled along the West coast – and especially Monsters and Critics’ offices in Malibu Canyon where deer hunting does not happen – you will see tons of the animals grazing all the way to Pepperdine University!
You’re more likely to get Lyme disease if you live or spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where ticks carrying the disease thrive.
Board certified internist Dr. Damon Raskin says it’s important to take common-sense precautions in areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
Dr. Raskin says, “If you’re treated with the proper antibiotics in the early stages of the disease, you’re likely to recover completely.” He also urges people to read up about reported tick/Lyme disease events at the CDC website.
In later stages, your body’s response to medical treatment may be more difficult and it may take longer to heal, but the majority of people with Lyme disease recover completely with appropriate treatment.
Dr. Raskin has offices in the wooded Pacific Palisades. Because of his location, he sees people coming into his offices with tick and bug bites from hiking trails around the Palisades and mountain area, particularly where there are lots of wildlife.
He tells Monsters and Critics:
Lyme disease IS curable
“There is so much misinformation out there that says this disease stays with you for the rest of your life, this is false. Antibiotics are given to prevent and/or cure Lyme disease. The most commonly used antibiotic is doxycycline.”
Lyme disease Can Be Fatal
“Lyme disease can be present for years but if left untreated it can still cause death. Neurological problems can surface weeks, months or even years after infection, and you may experience inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell’s palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement.”
You are welcome.
“It is only the deer tick that transmits Lyme and it must feed for at least 36 hours on a human: The best way to remove it is with fine tweezers, and grasp it as close to the skin as possible. Try to remove it in its entirety, and then wash the area with soap and water. If the tick is flat, not attached, or not engorged with blood, there is no chance it could cause Lyme disease. The appearance of a deer tick is brown and about the size of a poppy seed.”
What to look for
“About 80 percent of people with Lyme disease develop a rash that gives the appearance of a bull’s eye, so watch out for it: It typically starts out as a red circle which can expand and develop a central clearing giving it the appearance of a bull’s eye. This rash most often appears within a week of the tick bit”
“The longer the tick remains attached to your skin, the greater your risk of getting the disease. Preventative measures include: wearing light colored long sleeved shirts and pants when hiking, and staying on the trails to avoid vegetation where the deer ticks may be hiding. Then a thorough inspection when you come home, make sure to put clothes immediately in the washing machine and wash everything in hot water.”