What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease This Spring
As Spring and Summer weather beckons us out onto the trails and into the fields, we need to make sure we’re properly protecting ourselves for outdoor fun. It’s tick season, which means you may come across these tiny parasites in wooded and brushy areas. Ticks are a main carrier of Lyme Disease.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is a serious bacterial disease that gets progressively worse as it spreads through your body. During the first few days, people are often not aware that they are infected. They may feel sick with fatigue, a headache, or chills, but overall symptoms will be mild. If undetected and untreated, the bacteria will spread causing it to move into later stages of the disease. Patients develop persistent migraines, shooting pains, and joint and muscle aches. People who go for months without treatment can start to develop severe problems with their nervous system including numbness, tingling, and even partial paralysis that can last for months or years after being treated.
How to Detect Lyme Disease
Luckily, Lyme gives us a big warning marker: the tell-tale “bulls eye” rash, often the size of a softball at the site of the bite. If you see this on yourself or someone you know, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Treatment will depend on how far the disease has progressed, but in most cases a course of antibiotics will take care of it. The sooner you can detect this disease, the better you will feel and the easier it will be to recover.
When it comes to preventing Lyme Disease, a few simple procedures are enough to ensure you never have to deal with it. While enjoying your outdoor activities, stay away from long grass and brush when practical. Sticking to the center of hiking trails significantly lowers your risk of gathering unwanted passengers, who catch a ride when we brush past them. Wearing bug spray will also repel ticks, especially when applied to your legs and clothing.
After enjoying any outdoor activity, it’s important to check for ticks. Here, the buddy system is key. Ticks prefer areas that are hard to see on yourself, such as your armpits, your hair, and the backs of your knees. Visually inspecting each other for ticks is a great way to prevent bites, since ticks usually take time crawling from their landing spot to a preferred bite location. If you or your friend has been bitten, look up instructions for tick removal and monitor the spot for any sign of a rash. A tick usually has to be attached for a few hours to start the risk of Lyme contraction but the sooner bites can be detected and dealt with the better.
If you have Lyme Disease, it may seem wise to cut back on exercise until you’ve recovered. You will certainly feel this way, one of Lyme’s most common symptom is severe fatigue. As with any illness, exercise can be beneficial to your recovery but you also want to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. Exercising increases your body temperature, which helps kill bacteria (like an artificial fever). It also can help relieve headaches and breaking a sweat helps your body rid itself of toxins. However, you must monitor and manage your limits. If you experience a sudden spike in temperature (a flash), experience significant pain, or develop a headache while working out, it’s important to tell your trainer and rest.
The key problem with Lyme Disease will be your joints. Even in the earliest stages of Lyme, many will have joint stiffness and swelling. If you have active swelling, you may want to postpone working out. Warming up slowly and properly will help relieve joint pain and help you get more out of your workout. It’s important that you work your muscles without putting too much force or stress on your ailing joints. Many applications of resistance training will still be viable for you but limiting or reducing certain exercises may be required to stay safe.
If you would like more information on how to approach strength training while sick or with limited mobility, call today to talk to an award-winning trainer. We’d be honored to help you get back on your feet.