Owners' Blog

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month: What Are the Symptoms?

By Hilary and Greg Eldrige

Lyme disease is a condition that is transmitted by deer ticks or black-legged ticks. 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, but that does not account for cases that go unreported. The CDC estimates that the actual number of cases of Lyme disease annually is closer to 300,000. If Lyme disease is not treated, it can result in serious complications, such as ongoing joint inflammation (sometimes called Lyme arthritis), impaired memory, irregular heartbeat, and neurological symptoms. If your parent lives in an area where Lyme disease is an issue, knowing the symptoms of the disease could help your parent to receive medical care before there are complications. To help prevent Lyme disease or catch it in its earliest stages, check your parent for ticks after being outside and ask your parent’s elderly care provider to do the same.

Early Symptoms of Lyme Disease

If you or your parent’s elderly care provider removes a tick from your parent, there may be a red bump for a few days where the tick bit. The bump is normal and does not mean your parent has Lyme disease. Watch for the following symptoms to appear within 3 to 30 days following the bite:
Rash: 70 to 80 percent of people experience a red rash that is not painful or itchy. Sometimes the rash clears in the center so that it looks like a bullseye. The rash may feel warm to the touch.
Flu Symptoms: Your parent may have symptoms that make it appear as though they have the flu. These symptoms include fever, headache, chills, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.

Later Symptoms of Lyme Disease

If Lyme disease goes undetected and is not treated, your parent may exhibit some of the following signs weeks or months after a tick bite:

  • Rash: The same sort of rash as in the early symptoms may appear on other parts of the body.
  • Neck Stiffness.
  • Severe Headaches.
  • Pain in Joints: Your parent may have serious pain in joints throughout the body, especially the knees. The pain can move from one joint to another.
  • Heart Palpitations: Your parent’s heart beat may become irregular.
  • Meningitis: The membranes that surround the brain may swell.
  • Facial Palsy: Your parent may experience facial paralysis or a drooping of the muscles on one or both sides of the face.
  • Dizziness.
  • Shortness of Breath.
  • Nerve Pain.
  • Memory Problems.

Not all deer tick bites lead to Lyme disease. In fact, most don’t. However, if your parent is bitten by a tick and you or your parent’s elderly care provider notice symptoms of Lyme disease, your parent should see a doctor even if the symptoms should disappear. Treatment for Lyme disease is more effective when it is received early on.

Sources
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/basics/definition/con-20019701
http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/arthritis-lyme-disease
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/basics/complications/con-20019701
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20019701
https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.html

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elderly care in Lawrenceville, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.