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Posts Tagged ‘Lyme Disease’

Lyme Disease. By Our Student Pharmacist, Patrick Wang.

black-legged tick

Tick season is currently at its peak and with it comes a growing concern with contracting Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria that is most commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. Both adolescent ticks, known as nymphs, as well as adult ticks can transmit this bacteria to humans.

This tick finds its home mainly in wooded environments throughout Ohio, so individuals who spend large amounts of time in these areas are advised to have increased caution. Individuals of all age groups are at risk of Lyme disease infection, but boys between the ages of 10-14 and girls between the ages of 5-9 are of particularly high risk.

The characterizing symptom of Lyme disease (about 66% of cases) is a “bull’s eye” rash, which typically appears 7-14 days after the initial infected bite. This rash may be warm, but often is not associated with pain or itching.

Other symptoms include headache, fever, and chills which may appear anywhere between 3-30 days after the initial infected bite.

Lyme disease can only be formally diagnosed by a doctor after the appropriate blood tests are done, so if you experience any of these symptoms and suspect that you have potentially been exposed to black-legged ticks, it is recommended to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Lyme disease is curable through the use of antibiotics, but it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible in order to avoid any further health complications such as neurologic Lyme disease, Lyme carditis, and Lyme arthritis.

Preventative measures include:

  • avoiding tick habitats
  • using insect repellent that is labeled for use against ticks
  • removing ticks promptly
  • wearing long-sleeved clothes

tick removal

Removing ticks:

To remove a tick, simply use a pair of fine tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. Pull away from your skin with a steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick, as this could cause the mouth to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, attempt to pull it out using tweezers, otherwise just leave it alone and let the skin heal if you’re unable to do so.

Never crush a tick with your fingers. Instead, place live ticks in alcohol, a sealed container, or flush it down the toilet.

Wash your hands and the bite area with soap and water. “Folk” remedies such as petroleum jelly and lighting a match have been shown to not work and so are not advised methods to use.

bullseye rash

For more information feel free to visit the Ohio Department of Health’s website at:

https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/zoonotic-disease-program/resources/lyme-disease.

Photo References:

Bull’s eye rash:
Tick removal:
Black-legged tick:

Lyme Disease. By Our August Student Pharmacist, Ann Kuttothara.

Planning a road trip or camping trip soon? Here at Plain City Druggist, we want to keep you prepared to face anything! So in continuing with the summer theme of bug bites, today’s topic is Lyme disease.

The majority of Lyme disease cases are reported in 13 states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The incidence of Lyme disease in Ohio has been decreasing so help to keep that statistic down by keeping an eye out for ticks!

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi which is passed to humans by blacklegged ticks. On the East Coast, this tick is called Ixodes scapularis and on the West Coast, the tick is Ixodes pacificus. A bite from an infected tick can result in a unique rash and Lyme disease. The official name of the rash is erythema migrans and it looks like a bull’s eye.

A tick bite can result in flu-like symptoms such as:

  • feeling tired
  • muscle or joint ache
  • headache
  • fever
  • chills

Even if a rash does not appear, tell your doctor about the exposure to ticks if any of these symptoms occur. Monitor for symptoms up to 30 days after tick exposure.

Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? So avoid Lyme disease by reducing your exposure to ticks and removing them if you detect one.

Use trails when outside and check often for ticks on clothing and hair.

Wear light colored clothes to identify ticks and wear long sleeves and long pants, which can prevent the tick from latching on to your skin.

Use repellants on clothing for an extra layer of protection (as described in Amy’s column: http://pcdblog.com/2013/07/insect-repellent-what-products-should-i-use-on-my-family-by-our-bite-free-july-student-pharmacist-amy-reed/).

The tick usually has to be attached to the skin for at least 36 hours to spread the bacteria. If a tick is found on the skin, it can be removed with tweezers (to refresh your memory on how to remove a tick, re-read Amy’s blog: http://pcdblog.com/2013/07/). Do not hesitate to mention the tick to your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms described above after removing the tick.

Treatment

Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics. Visit your doctor if you notice the bull’s eye rash or experience symptoms. Early treatment is ideal for quick recovery. Symptoms such as muscle and joint ache can persist for months or years after a bite so make sure to visit the doctor as soon as you think there might be a problem.

For more information visit: http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

References (info and pictures obtained):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

The Clinical Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention of Lyme Disease, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Available from: http://cid.oxforjournals.org/content/43/9/1089.full