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Here's Everything You Should Know About Lyme Disease

More attention has been given to Lyme Disease in recent years after high-profile figures, like Yolanda Foster and her daughter Bella Hadid, have talked about being diagnosed with the infectious disease. Still, many people are unaware of how you can contract Lyme Disease, and the symptoms involved.

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❤️Although 2018 wasn’t my personal best as I struggled through a relapse of Lyme due to black mold exposure in my home which compromised my immune system, needless to say a big disappointment in the health department but today I choose to look at the bright side, the growth and success of my children not only in business but the beautiful personal life we have created together on our east coast farm with our amazing animals. A sanctuary that has brought us much peace, love and happiness. So I choose to end this year in gratitude for all the great things that brought me joy and the lessons I needed to learn to during the tough times. Thank you all for your amazing support through this journey called life. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones, I pray that each day Love, health and happiness will come your way..... #HappyNewYear

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The number of Lyme Disease cases “has doubled over the last decade,” KHQA reports. But, first, what is it? Lyme Disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which is spread to humans by bites from an infected black-legged tick, the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Many people who are infected are unaware they have been bitten, and Healthline notes that a tick must be present on the skin “for 24 to 48 hours to transmit the infection.”

Initial symptoms of Lyme Disease can include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash (the formal name for which is erythema migrans). But if not diagnosed and treated early, these symptoms will worsen and can result in the joints, heart, and nervous system being affected. According to Healthline, Lyme Disease occurs in three stages, which the publication outlines as early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated.

The first signs of infection typically start around 2 weeks after the tick bite, and one of the earliest signs is the erythema migrans, which is reportedly not itchy or painful. After the initial diagnosis, the CDC notes that most early cases of Lyme Disease can be treated with antibiotics within the first few weeks, this will eliminate all signs of the infection.

The second stage is when symptoms, including headaches, fever and muscle aches begin, and the last stage happens when there has been no treatment for either the early localized or early disseminated stages. According to Healthline, stage 3 results in severe headaches, it can cause mental fogginess and affect the memory, mood, sleep, and even conversation. It can also cause numbness in the arms, hands, legs, and feet, a change in heart rhythm, and arthritis in large joints.

“If it's left untreated at later stages, it can lead to more serious things that can affect your joints, which leads to arthritis, your nervous system, or neurological symptoms or even your heart,” Chris Stone, Director of Medical Entomology Laboratory at the Illinois Natural Survey told KHQA.

What steps can you take to reduce the risks of Lyme Disease? According to the CDC, individuals should remove ticks (with tweezers) straight away, apply insect repellent and use pesticides. Wearing long clothing that covers the arms and legs can also help with prevention.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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