Lyme disease is an affliction caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. This type of bacteria is normally found in rodents such as squirrels and mice. Ticks, a type of parasite, suck the blood of these animals and become infected with the bacteria. Humans become infected when they are bitten by ticks carrying the bacteria. Lyme disease is fairly uncommon, with only about 15,000 cases occurring each year in the United States.
Lyme disease has an assortment of symptoms, the most unique of which is a skin rash that forms around the point of infection and takes on the appearance of a bulls eye. Other symptoms include fever, headache, and chronic fatigue. If the infection is not stopped in its early stages, it can spread to other areas of the body, including the heart and nervous system. Fortunately, there is no significant evidence that the disease can be transferred by any means other than direct contact with blood.
The disease is most often identified after the appearance of the rash or based on the other symptoms. Luckily, the disease can be easily cured in most cases using a antibiotics. Sometimes, the tick that gave the person the infection has burrowed under the skin and must also be removed. If the disease is not treated in time, it can cause chronic arthritis that persists for months or years after antibiotic treatments.
The best way to prevent yourself from catching this disease is to avoid areas where ticks are common, such as forests. If you do have to venture into a forest, wear long pants and spray yourself with tick repellent. As soon as possible, check your entire body for the presence of ticks. If a tick has attached itself to your body, pour rubbing alcohol on it to force it to back out. If you have to pull on it, use tweezers and make sure that you don't leave its proboscis in your skin. Once you have removed it, the best way to kill it is to use a flame since their exoskeletons are very hard.