...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!
. . . Lyme Disease Treatment:
Oral antibiotics — usually doxycycline for adults and children older than 8, or amoxicillin or cefuroxime axetil for adults, younger children and pregnant or breast-feeding women — are the standard treatment for early-stages of the disease. These drugs often clear the infection and prevent complications. A 14- to 21-day course of antibiotics is usually recommended, but some studies suggest that courses lasting 10 to 14 days are equally effective. In some cases, longer treatment has been linked to serious complications.
Your doctor may recommend lyme disease treatment with an intravenous antibiotic for 14 to 28 days. This is usually effective, although it may take some time to recover. Intravenous antibiotics can cause various side effects, including a lower white blood cell count, gallstones and mild to severe diarrhea.
The Food and Drug Administration warns consumers and health care providers to avoid bismacine, an injectable compound prescribed by some alternative medicine practitioners to treat Lyme disease. Bismacine, also known as chromacine, contains high levels of the metal bismuth. Although bismuth is safely used in some oral medications for stomach ulcers, it's not approved for use in injectable form or as a treatment for Lyme disease. Bismacine can cause bismuth poisoning, which may lead to heart and kidney failure.
. . . Prevention:
You can decrease your risk of getting Lyme disease with some simple precautions:
Wear long pants and sleeves. When walking in wooded or grassy areas, wear shoes, long pants tucked into your socks, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. Try to stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and long grass. Keep your dog on a leash.
Use insect repellents. Apply an insect repellent with a 10 percent to 30 percent concentration of DEET to your skin and clothing. Choose the concentration based on the hours of protection you need — the higher the concentration of DEET, the longer you are protected. A 10 percent concentration protects you for about two hours. Keep in mind that chemical repellents can be toxic, and use only the amount needed for the time you'll be outdoors. Don't use DEET on the hands of young children or on infants younger than age 2 months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, oil of lemon eucalyptus, a more natural product, offers the same protection as DEET when used in similar concentrations. Don't use this product on children younger than 3 years.
Do your best to tick-proof your yard. Clear brush and leaves where ticks live. Keep woodpiles in sunny areas.
Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks. Be especially vigilant after spending time in wooded or grassy areas. Deer ticks are often no bigger than the head of a pin, so you may not discover them unless you search carefully. It's helpful to shower as soon as you come indoors. Ticks often remain on your skin for hours before attaching themselves. Showering and using a washcloth may be enough to remove any unattached ticks.
Don't assume you're immune Even if you've had Lyme disease before, you can get it again.
Remove a tick with tweezers Gently grasp the tick near its head or mouth. Don't squeeze or crush the tick, but pull carefully and steadily. Once you've removed the entire tick, dispose of it and apply antiseptic to the bite area.