Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that is transmitted by ticks. A typical symptom is a circular reddening of the skin that can occur at the sting site for a few days to a few weeks after the tick bite. In later stages, other symptoms such as paralysis and sensory disturbances may be noticeable. If a Lyme disease is diagnosed, usually followed by treatment with antibiotics. Most of the time the disease can be cured. However, if the Lyme disease remains undetected for a long time, consequential damage is possible.
Tick bite as a cause
Lyme disease (Lyme disease) is the disease most commonly transmitted by ticks in Germany. It is triggered by spiral bacteria called Borrelia. The bacteria can be transmitted by different types of ticks, the common carrier in Europe is the common wood buck. However, only about every fifth tick bears Borrelia. In addition to ticks, flying insects, such as mosquitoes, act as transmitters in rare cases.
Borrelia live in the gut of the ticks, so it takes a while a tick bite a certain time until the bacteria get into the blood of the victim. The transmission of the bacteria is estimated to begin about 12 to 24 hours after the sting. Therefore, a quick removal of the tick is particularly important - often this can namely an infection can be prevented.
Lyme disease and TBE
Lyme disease and TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) are both diseases that are transmitted by ticks. However, while vaccination is possible against TBE, such protection does not exist in Lyme disease. A TBE vaccination makes sense especially for people who live in a tick-risk area or go on vacation. Vaccination is the only way to prevent the disease. Because the transmission of TBE viruses begins immediately after the tick bite. Thus, it can be prevented by a quick removal of the tick Although a Lyme disease, but not FSME.
Wandering red as a symptom
Characteristically, Lyme disease occurs in three stages. Not always, however, all three stages occur. A typical symptom of the first Lyme disease stage is a redness around the sting site, the so-called Wanderröte. The redness spreads in a circle over time, the middle fades slowly (Wanderröte). This symptom may last for a few days to a few weeks after the tick bite. In some patients, the Wanderröte missing but also completely.
If no wandering redness occurs, Lyme disease is often difficult to diagnose. Because the disease is then usually only by non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, fever or headache noticeable. If you suffer from such nonspecific disease symptoms after a tick bite, you should always think of Lyme disease as well.
Other symptoms of Lyme disease
In the second stage, symptoms such as pain, paralysis and sensory disturbances may occur. Paralyzes are especially common in the face. In rare cases, the bacteria can also cause meningitis or encephalitis. Typical symptoms include headache, fever and neck stiffness. If the heart is attacked by the pathogen, cardiac arrhythmias may occur.
Typical of the chronic late stage, which can set itself after many months or years, are finally joint inflammation. The knees are particularly affected. In addition to the joints, the skin and nerves may also be damaged. If the central or peripheral nervous system is affected, it is called neuroborreliosis.
Diagnosis is not always easy
If the typical wandering color is present in a patient around the stitching point, this symptom is usually sufficient to start a borreliosis therapy. If the circular redness is missing, a blood test is first carried out. However, this is not always clear. Because even if there are specific antibodies against Borrelia, this does not mean that Lyme disease is the cause of the acute symptoms.
Other procedures that can be used in Lyme disease diagnosis include brainwashing and joint fluid analysis.
Treatment of Lyme Disease
Since Lyme disease is caused by bacteria, the disease can generally be treated well by the administration of antibiotics. This is especially true when the disease is still at an early stage. The earlier a therapy takes place, the higher the likelihood that consequential damage can be prevented.
If the disease remains undetected over a long period of time, it usually makes the treatment much more difficult. Often several weeks of antibiotics - sometimes as an infusion - necessary to achieve a successful treatment. Even with successful treatment, the disease can leave damage behind.
Attention: A single infection with Borrelia does not make you immune to the bacteria. So it can always come back to Neuansteckungen!
Prevent Lyme Disease
To effectively prevent Lyme disease, you should protect yourself from tick bites. Ticks live primarily in the grass as well as in bushes and forests. An infection is therefore usually in nature activities, such as running, hiking or gardening. The following tips will help protect you from a tick bite:
- Cover your skin with clothing as much as possible. Ideally wear light, long tops and pants. Put your trouser legs in your shoes as you walk through the grass.
- Wear bright, smooth clothing wherever possible.
- When hiking in nature, put on solid shoes and refrain from flip-flops, sandals and other open shoes.
- Spray with a tick repellent while out in the nature. While the remedy does not prevent a tick bite 100 percent, it provides some protection for about two to three hours.
Special care in the tick season
Despite all the protective measures, it can happen that you sting a tick. Therefore, you should thoroughly search your body after outdoor activities. You should be especially careful during the tick season from March to October. However, caution is also required throughout the rest of the year, as occasionally tick bites can occur even in the cold season.
If you have discovered a tick, remove it as soon as possible to minimize the risk of infection. Tips on how to remove ticks properly can be found here.