Ticks which feed on birds, rodents, and deer infected with the bacteria, end up infecting themselves with that bacteria. Then, they also infect humans, as well as dogs, spreading the Lyme diseases.
Symptoms of Lyme disease can appear after a few weeks or maybe years, and when they do, it is as if it wasn’t directly associated with the tick bite. The symptoms tend to vary depending on the body chemistry of the person, and when they are left untreated, they can linger for months and even years.
Some of the early symptoms/signs of the Lyme disease (3 to 4 weeks after being bit) are the following:
- Skin rash around the bite site;
- Flu – like symptoms;
- Fever or chills;
- Sore throat;
Some of the later symptoms/signs of the Lyme disease (several weeks to months after the bite) are the following:
- Extreme fatigue;
- Shooting pains, numbness or tingling sensations in limbs;
- Swollen lymph nodes;
- Blurry vision, eye pain or swelling;
- Night sweats or unexplained chills;
- Neck stiffness and migraines;
- Muscle spasms.
Severe cases exhibit the following symptoms which can be life threatening:
- Partial body paralysis;
- Nervous system disorders (even seizures);
- Brain fog, state of confusion or memory loss;
- Difficulty breathing, eating, talking and sleeping;
- Intermittent pain in tendons, joints, muscles and bones;
- Abnormal heartbeat.
How to protect yourself?
Prevention is the best. If you plan on hiking or walking through forests and overgrown grass where ticks hang out, you should protect yourself from infected ticks in the following ways:
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after you come from outdoors (within 2 hours), in order to wash of and find ticks which may be crawling on you;
- Check your children and pets thoroughly for ticks that may hide under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button or maybe in the hair;
- Examine your clothing, as well as of your kids and/or put them in a dryer on high heat to kill ticks, if there are any;
- Wear closed – toe shoes, and pull sock over pant legs;
- Wear long-sleeved shirts or use an insect repellent;
- Avoid walking through wooded and bushy areas with tall grass;
- Wear light-colored clothes to spot ticks easier.