Is Lyme Disease Contagious?
In recent years, Lyme disease has become an increasing problem in the Northeast. Unfortunately, misinformation about the disease has caused fear and confusion among many people. Have questions about Lyme disease? We’ve answered some of the top questions we receive about the disease, along with some expert recommendations for avoiding infection.
How Do You Get it?
Lyme disease is spread through the bite of ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. In the mid-Atlantic, northeastern and north-central United States, the disease is often carried by the blacklegged or "deer" tick. When an infected tick bites a human being, it can spread bacteria into the bloodstream, causing a range of serious symptoms that can lead to long-term health problems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that Lyme disease is transmitted from person-to-person. There is also no credible evidence that the disease can be transmitted through food, air, water, or from the bites of flies, mosquitoes, lice or fleas.
Although there have been no cases of someone contracting Lyme disease via blood transfusions, scientists have discovered that Borrelia burgdorferi can live in stored blood. For this reason, you should not donate blood if you are being treated for Lyme disease.
What Are the Symptoms and Treatments?
Untreated Lyme disease can cause a diversity of symptoms, including rash, fever, facial paralysis, arthritis and neurological issues. Without treatment, a person can develop serious complications, including memory problems, nerve pain and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
Doctors typically treat Lyme disease with oral antibiotic medications, such as amoxicillin, doxycycline or cefuroxime axetil. In severe cases, a person may require intravenous treatment with antibiotics, such as penicillin or ceftriaxone.
When to Visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care
Since delayed treatment can lead to long-term health issues, it's important to visit your nearest PhysicianOne Urgent Care if you develop any troublesome symptoms after a tick bite. It's also important to be especially cautious anytime you go outdoors in areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
You can reduce your risk of contracting Lyme disease in wooded areas by covering your skin with long sleeves, long pants, gloves and closed shoes. You should also use an insect repellent with at least a 20 percent concentration of DEET.
It's generally a good idea to tick-proof your yard by removing limbs and debris. You should also thoroughly inspect your skin after spending time in wooded areas, where blacklegged ticks tend to live.
If you have been bit or suspect you may have been bit by a tick, PhysicianOne Urgent Care can assess the area of the rash and/or bite, start preventative treatment, and remove the tick if still present. Contact us at 1.855.349.2828 or visit the PhysicianOne Urgent Care nearest you.