According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year. However, the number of people who actually contract the disease is probably higher because some cases simply are not reported.
Lyme disease can cause serious medical problems, especially if it is left untreated. Knowing more about the disease could help you to recognize it in your aging relative and get them the treatment they need.
About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease gets its name because it was first reported in Old Lyme, CT in 1977. The disease is caused by a virus that is carried by ticks, specifically the black-legged or deer tick. The ticks get the disease from biting a mouse or deer carrying the virus. Lyme disease is the most prevalent disease carried by ticks in the United States.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
The first sign of Lyme disease is often a rash with a tell-tale “bullseye” appearance. That is, the rash is clear in the center with a red ring around it. The rash, called erythema migrans, usually appears within 3 to 30 days of being bitten by a tick carrying the virus. The rash normally doesn’t cause any itching or pain.
Lyme disease can also cause symptoms that are similar to the flu, including:
- Body aches.
The rash usually disappears within a month, but if Lyme disease isn’t treated, more severe symptoms occur, such as:
- Rash in other areas of the body.
- Severe pain and swelling in the joints, especially the knees.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Swelling in the brain and spinal cord.
- An irregular heartbeat.
- Nerve pain.
- Feeling short of breath.
- Headaches and stiff neck.
- Facial palsy.
- Memory problems.
Only a small number of deer ticks carries the disease, so being bitten doesn’t mean that your aging relative will definitely develop Lyme disease. However, the longer a tick is attached, the more likely that the disease will be passed on. If your family member has been bitten by a tick and you notice symptoms, seek medical attention. Early treatment will be more effective.
Elderly care can help your aging relative to avoid getting Lyme disease. An elderly care provider can remind the older adult to stay out of areas where ticks may be, such as areas with long grass or lots of trees. Elderly care providers can also help the senior to apply an insect repellant that contains 20 percent or more DEET. Finally, an elderly care provider can check the older adult’s body for ticks after being outside and remove any ticks they may have.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services near Ephrata PA, contact the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Lancaster. Call today at (717) 205-2174.
A long-time resident of Lancaster County, Mary Lynne enjoys spending time with her husband Terry, and their 3 horses and collies. The countless hours of caring for her client and employee-based “family” at work and at home can truly depict the selfless character of Mary Lynne Heller. Mary Lynne is a Google Verified Author
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