The 4 Scariest Things about Lyme Disease

Most of you have heard of Lyme disease, but do you know how it's caused? Sure, a tick has to bite you, but there's a little more to it than that. First, there are two types of ticks: hard and soft. This is important because the tick has to have a hard shell, and it needs to be infected with a class of bacteria called Borellia. [1] If that infected tick bites you, you'll develop symptoms like fever, headache, and fatigue. You might even develop a non-itchy rash that's warm to the touch. If you've been bitten by a tick lately and have symptoms, don't ignore them. If Lyme disease goes untreated, the joints, the heart, and even the central nervous system could be affected. [2]

4 Shocking Things about Lyme Disease

As if the above symptoms weren't bad enough, here are 4 pretty terrifying things about Lyme disease you may not know.

1. It's more debilitating than you think.

As the leading tick-borne disease in the United States, Lyme disease, while treatable, can take time to diagnose. Its symptoms often look like those of other illnesses and sometimes come and go. Waiting for a diagnosis can be awful, like in the case of a healthy, active 12-year old girl from Montana who became “feverish, dizzy, and doubled over with stomach pains every time she tried to exert herself.” [3] In 6th grade, she missed a lot of school because of this; by 8th grade, she only attended her first day. Then we have a lawyer from Virginia who thought he had a bad case of the flu. Soon he felt so bad and all he could do was lie around. It wasn't until after fifteen months of treatment he began to feel better. It's not just the medical issues. For some, there's an emotional toll. Imagine being sick with no diagnosis in sight, or just not being able to do anything you used to without feeling bad.

2. It's nearly everywhere.

Call it what you will, but for many climate change has become a very real concern. What exactly does that have to do with Lyme disease? Well, warmer weather speeds up the tick's life cycle, meaning many successfully reproduce before dying. [4] That means more biting ticks. In 1991, the US had 10,000 reported cases of Lyme disease; by 2013, that number was over 27,000. It's not just the US that has seen a rise in cases; surprisingly, our neighbors to the North have their fair share. At one time, no one believed Lyme disease could even be a concern in Canada, but warmer weather has opened the door for infected ticks.

3. As far as tick diseases are concerned, it's just the start.

And you thought Lyme disease was bad. There's actually something even worse lurking in the bite of the lone star tick. As one of the soft ticks, its bite won't cause Lyme disease but it can release an …read more

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