Lyme disease, if left untreated, can be a serious concern for people of all ages, but it is especially dangerous for the elderly. This condition is caused by the spread of the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi, primarily carried by blacklegged or deer ticks. To help your elderly loved one steer clear of Lyme disease, follow these tips from the Vancouver in-home care experts at Home Care Assistance.
1. Be Aware Ticks Live in Many Places
Many people falsely believe ticks only exist on the East Coast of the United States. While most tick bites do occur there, ticks have been found in all 50 states and in various parts of Canada in the last 10 years. This includes the traditional blacklegged tick frequently found in states on the East Coast as well as new species that have been found in other areas and are known to carry Lyme disease.
2. Prevent Tick Bites
Avoiding getting bit by a tick is the most important step in preventing Lyme disease. Though ticks are known to reside in the woods, they can live in any area of vegetation. If your loved one enjoys gardening or walking outdoors, he or she can prevent tick bites by spraying clothes with an insecticide containing DEET, wearing light, long-sleeved shirts, and tucking pant cuffs into socks.
3. Promptly Remove Ticks
Ticks can range in size from as small as a poppy seed to as a large as a sesame seed. After your loved one has been outdoors, check over his or her body for ticks. Any ticks found should be promptly removed using fine point tweezers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, removing the tick within 24 hours of the bite gives a person the best chance of not contracting Lyme disease.
4. Talk with the Doctor About New Rashes or Fevers
Though Lyme disease is known for leaving a “bullseye” rash on the skin, it can cause a variety of different rashes. Lyme disease is often initially misdiagnosed as a skin infection or insect bite. If your loved one has a new rash, talk with his or her doctor about it. A proper diagnosis is critical in getting treatment for Lyme disease before it progresses. Additionally, a fever can be another initial symptom of Lyme disease. If your loved one has a fever without any cold or flu symptoms, talk with the doctor about the possibility of Lyme disease.
Keeping your loved one safe from Lyme disease and other serious health conditions is a primary concern of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance. We offer live-in and part-time care, and we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care Vancouver families trust. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our friendly Case Managers today at (778) 279-3634.