Elder Care in Tallahassee FL
The weather is getting warmer and this means many people are making plans to head outside and enjoy some fresh air. If you are thinking about all of the amazing ways that you can make enjoying the great outdoors a part of your elder care efforts with your aging parent, it is important that you also keep in mind the potential dangers that they can face when they go outside. May is World Lyme Disease Awareness Month. During this month-long health observance focus on learning about how Lyme disease occurs, what you can do to prevent it, and your options should it arise during the course of your elder care journey with your parent.
Some things that you should know about Lyme disease include:
- Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can lead to serious symptoms and even death
- This bacterial infection is transmitted by deer ticks and black-legged ticks
- Lyme can occur throughout the United States, not just on the East Coast as is often believed, and also appears in more than 60 other countries
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 300,000 people are diagnosed with this infection each year throughout the United States. That is nearly twice as many people as women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, and six times that of people diagnosed with HIV each year
- It is not uncommon for people with Lyme disease to receive one or more inaccurate diagnoses before finally receiving the appropriate diagnosis. This is why many experts believe that the actual number of people who contract the disease is well above this number
- Lyme disease can and does appear in people across all age groups, but elderly adults are at particular risk due to their tendency to have lower immune systems than others. Also at particular risk are young children and those whose professions or hobbies keep them outdoors frequently
- One reason that it is particularly difficult to reach a diagnosis of Lyme disease is that this bacteria can mimic the behaviors of many other diseases. It can impact virtually any area of the body, including the heart, joints, nervous system, and even muscles. Common misdiagnoses include depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia
The most common cause of Lyme disease is a bite from an immature tick. These are extremely tiny and cause no pain when biting. This means that many people do not even realize that they have been bitten and may not recognize the tick bite until they discover the tick. Because they can stay attached through swimming, bathing, and other activities, it is possible for the tick to remain embedded for several days or even longer. The longer that the tick remains in place, the more likely it is that the site will become infected and the tick will transmit pathogens into the bloodstream. Though not all ticks are infected and not all tick bites cause disease, it is critical to treat all tick bites promptly and effectively, and to remain vigilant of your parent’s health after a bite in the event that Lyme disease does develop.