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Lyme disease. Not only foresters and farmers are exposed to it. “This disease can elude us”

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Lyme disease is one of the most serious tick-borne diseases. As experts explain, this disease is no longer typical only of foresters and farmers. Ticks are also becoming more and more common in urban environments and you can come across them, for example, while walking your dog. It is worth remembering, however, that not every tick is a carrier of Lyme disease.

It is a myth that only foresters and farmers suffer from Lyme disease. Of course, they are the largest group of infected people due to frequent contact with a tick at work, but at the moment we also have a lot of ticks in the urban environment – said Lublin consultant for infectious diseases Grażyna Semczuk, MD, PhD.

The expert emphasized that Lyme disease is still a very insidious disease, but – as she pointed out – it is overdiagnosed on the one hand, and underestimated on the other.

– Overdiagnosed, because you need to have a lot of knowledge and experience to correctly interpret the test results. Many factors in the human body can affect it. And only an experienced specialist can find out if, for example, they are false positive due to other problems in the body – explained Dr. Semczuk, MD, adding that hence the statistics on Lyme disease may be inflated.

Lyme disease can be contracted after a tick biteAdobe Stock

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Lyme disease – what symptoms can it show?

On the other hand, she said, the number of cases may be underestimated due to uncharacteristic symptoms, which are often simply associated with aging, overwork, and fatigue.

“That’s why this disease can elude us.” Many patients have Lyme disease, but it is not diagnosed and treated, added the infectious disease specialist.

She explained that a patient infected with Lyme disease feels bad, his muscles ache, he has a depressed mood, and his joints may also hurt. However, in Poland, joint borreliosis is not often noted.

– Remember that not all ticks are infected. Therefore, you need to approach the fact of being bitten by a tick wisely. There is no need to panic too much, because even if the disease is detected, we – doctors can control it – emphasized Semczuk, MD, PhD.

She added that early diagnosis is also important, because then the chances of a complete cure are the greatest. She explained that it is more difficult with several years of Lyme disease when degenerative changes have already occurred, e.g. in joints, peripheral nerve damage.

“We can then eliminate the bacterium, but changes resulting from prolonged inflammation are more difficult to reverse” – she noted.

Ticks and Lyme disease. Facts and mythsNational forests

“The more you prick, the greater the chance of infection”

According to her, the Lublin region is at the forefront of regions when it comes to the incidence of Lyme disease, due to the large area of ​​forest areas, “but we are not the leading voivodeship in terms of the number of infections, Podlasie usually ranks first.”

– It is a myth that only foresters and farmers suffer from Lyme disease. It has happened to me more than once that a patient who claims that he has never been bitten by a tick, that he avoids nature, is nevertheless infected. At the moment, we also have a lot of ticks in the urban environment, wherever there is greenery. Patients even say that they were in the park, on the lawn or on a walk with the dog and got a tick – described the specialist in infectious diseases.

She added that foresters and farmers obviously constitute the largest group infected with Lyme disease due to frequent contact with ticks during work. “The more pricks, the greater the possibility of infection,” the doctor said.

Dr. med. Grażyna Semczuk admitted that social awareness of Lyme disease has actually increased over the years. – However, it amazes me how I say it, the communal news, i.e. passing – with all conviction of your knowledge – incorrect information about Lyme disease – she pointed out.

She said that people who come to an infectious disease specialist are often shocked by what they hear from the doctor, because they “already have their irreformable beliefs about the disease.”

– It is sometimes amazing that a patient in the 21st century, instead of going to the doctor and getting the right information, listens to what neighbors and friends have to say – she concluded.

Watch out for ticks!PAP/Maria Samczuk, Adam Ziemienowicz

Main photo source: Adobe Stock

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