Know the Signs of Lyme Disease
As summer comes to a close, we’re all trying to squeeze in as much time as we can in the great outdoors. Most of us know about wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated, but often forget about another pesky summer health risk – bug bites. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares these tips to recognize the signs of Lyme disease and get treatment early.
What is Lyme disease?
Nurse Rose: Bug bites can cause a variety of illnesses – including Lyme disease, a serious disease that can be treated if it’s caught early enough. Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria spread by tiny insects called ticks, usually found in wooded or grassy areas.
What are some signs of Lyme disease?
Nurse Rose: It’s important to know these early signs of Lyme disease because it’s much harder to treat once the illness has progressed.
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, joint/muscle pain, headache)
- Round, red rash that spreads around the tick bite
What kinds of problems can developed if it goes untreated?
Nurse Rose: If the disease goes untreated, it can cause serious, long-term problems, including:
- Swelling and joint pain
- Tingling and numbness in the hands, feet and back
- Lack of energy that does not improve
- Trouble focusing
- Poor memory
- Weakness or paralysis in your face muscles
What should people do if they have any of these symptoms?
Nurse Rose: If you notice a rash or any of the symptoms described above you should see your doctor immediately.
How can we prevent Lyme disease?
Nurse Rose: The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites with these tips.
- Avoid wooded and brushy areas
- Use bug repellent with DEET
- Bathe as soon as you return indoors
- Conduct a full body check using a mirror and check your kids
- Put clothes in a hot dryer for an hour to kill remaining ticks
- Remove any ticks you find
Rose Melendez, RN
Head of Emergency Department
Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.