Lyme disease is only contracted through the bite of a deer tick. That deer tick has to be infected with the bacterium known as borrelia burgdorferi. Here’s the important part, the tick has to be attached for 36 to 48 hours for the disease to spread. That can make it easier to avoid Lyme disease.
The Range of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease used to be localized to states in the northeast, but it’s been spreading. There are reported cases of the disease in many states now. The spread extends to the West Coast and Alaska.
If an infected tick bites your dad and remains attached long enough, symptoms appear within a few days and up to a month. A bright red bulls-eye rash is one of the first symptoms and can be as large as a foot across. The skin may feel warm to the touch, but it’s unlikely it will be sore or itchy.
In the next few months, he may experience joint pain, muscle pain, and nerve pain. Dizziness, numbness in the extremities, and loss of muscle tone in the face are other possibilities. If it affects the heart, he may experience an irregular heart rhythm.
The earlier Lyme disease is diagnosed the better it is. He’ll be taking an antibiotic like amoxicillin for up to three weeks. If the disease affects the heart, IV antibiotics may be necessary.
It’s best to prevent the disease. If your dad is out in the woods or a grassy field, he should dress appropriately to prevent the tick from getting to his skin. Long pants with the cuffs tucked into his socks are preferred. His shirt should be tucked into the waistband.
Light-colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks that are climbing on you. If there are any, he can pick them off outside. A jar of soapy water or alcohol will kill them to prevent them from being released back into the environment.
Spraying his clothing and any exposed skin with an insect repellent is also recommended. One with DEET or picaridin is good. Permethrin is also helpful at treating shoes and outdoor gear.
Ticks can also be in his yard. If he has gardens, he should shower as soon as he comes inside. Someone should check his hair and behind the ears for ticks. He needs to check other areas they go for like the armpits, belly button, back of the knees, waistline, and inner thighs/groin.
What if he contacts the disease? He may not feel great while the antibiotics fight it. He’ll benefit from the help of an elder care aide. He’ll want help with housework, meals, and bathing. He may need someone to support him when he’s walking from one room to the other. Talk to an elder care representative to make the arrangements.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Homecare in Taunton, MA, call the caring staff at Rivers of Hope today at 508-857-0629. Providing Independent, Dependent, and Companion Care Services in Brockton, Boston, Braintree, Avon Randolph, Abington, and the surrounding areas. riversofhopes.com