She happens to live in an area where deer ticks are common, and you worry about Lyme disease. May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month and a good time to learn more about disease prevention and treatments. Deer ticks are commonly found in tall grass, but they can come in on pets or be in the yard. Here’s what you and your 24-hour home care provider need to know.
The Symptoms Can Be Different in Older Adults
The common symptoms of Lyme disease include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and headaches. In older adults, the muscle and joint pain were not as common as the fatigue and headaches. Because of this, older adults might not think they have more than a mild case of the flu.
Treatments May Take Longer in Older People
Studies find that older patients take longer to react to the treatments that help Lyme disease. In a ten-year study, 1,220 patients were studied. Qualifying participants had rashes of at least five centimeters appear two or more days after the bite. They were broken into three groups:
- Young (18-44 years old)
- Middle-Aged (45-64)
- Elderly (65 or older)
Once categorized, participants were given one of the antibiotics commonly used to treat Lyme disease. They were then checked after two weeks, two months, six months, and a year.
Most patients were fully treated within two months. For older adults, a large percentage needed six months or a full year of treatments. Some still hadn’t been fully treated after a year.
The Tick Must Be Attached for Two or Three Days
Deer ticks get the bacteria that causes Lyme disease from rodents. If they feed on a rodent that has Borrelia burgdorferi, they can then pass the bacteria on. This takes place when a tick bites you and is attached for 24 to 36 hours.
If your mom checks all of her body for ticks when she comes in from the garden, she may never develop Lyme disease. If they’re not attached for long enough, they can’t pass the bacteria on. But, they can bite in areas your mom may not even notice them.
Ticks may go for the buttocks, underbelly, armpits, neck, or behind the ears. These are common areas, but that doesn’t mean they’ll avoid everywhere else. They’ll feed where they can find bare skin.
Your mom loves to be in her garden, which is one of the ways people pick up ticks. When she goes outside, she should wear long pants and tuck her pant cuffs into her socks. She should tuck her shirt into her waistband. Applying insect repellent to exposed skin on the face, neck, ears, and hands helps keep them away.
Before she goes inside, someone should check her clothing for ticks. If she has one on her, it should be removed to a covered jar filled with soapy water. There is a chance they’ll be in her hair. She should shower and shampoo her hair to kill and remove them.
Does She Need Help?
How independent is your mom? Is she in need of a helping hand as she ages? If your mom needs help checking her skin for ticks, make sure she has support at home. A home care aide can spend time with your mom helping her in her garden. Home care aides can clean her home, do the laundry, and even check her for ticks when she’s ready to come inside.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering 24-Hour Home Care in Oakland Gardens, NY, please contact the caring staff at Beacon Eldercare Inc. today. (718) 406-9500
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