Following Justin Bieber’s diagnosis, here’s everything you need to know about Lyme disease

It seems fans weren’t the only ones who were left guessing. In a post on Justin’s Instagram page, the singer revealed that he had himself been baffled by his own ill-health, with doctors unable to find out what was causing his symptoms, which included “a serious case of chronic mono” affecting his skin, brain function, energy, and overall health. Finally, however, doctors reached a diagnosis of Lyme Disease, and Justin has been able to start targeted treatment for the condition.
There’s been a lot of speculation over Justin Bieber’s health throughout the past couple of years. Worried fans have fretted for his mental health as he was seen in floods of tears in October of last year, after which he openly discussed his battle with depression. Others speculated that he had a drug problem, as he was often photographed looking exhausted and gaunt.

But what exactly is Lyme disease? How do you contract it, what are the symptoms and how is it treated? Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know…

What is Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks. The infection is transmitted by the tick biting into the skin.

“Lyme disease is carried by ticks (wood ticks or hard bodied ticks) tiny blood-sucking parasites which normally live on deer, mice and other mammals including dogs,” explains GP Dr Ismat Nasirrudin. “It is passed on through the tick biting an infected animal and then passing the disease on when biting a human. Only a small number of ticks carry the bacteria which causes Lyme disease, so not all tick bites are worrying.”

What are the symptoms?

There are a number of symptoms that can suggest Lyme disease, the most obvious one being a distinct rash around the bite. The rash is usually circular, red, and has a ring around the outside, and looks a little bit like a bull’s-eye.

Not everyone gets the rash and there are other symptoms in the early stages to be aware of including fever, headaches, muscle ache and tiredness. Obviously, there are many other causes for these non-distinct symptoms (including the common cold), so don’t panic but do get yourself checked out nonetheless. Another thing to remember is that not all ticks are infected, so if you do notice a bite, don’t panic but do have it checked by a doctor.

How common is Lyme disease?

According to Dr Ismat, Lyme disease is more common that we might think; “The cases of Lyme disease are rapidly increasing. It is difficult to diagnose, and while treatment usually clears up the disease in 2 to 4 weeks, sometimes more serious complications can occur.”

What to do if you notice a tick on you

If you notice a tick on you, there is a certain way to remove it safely. “Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool. You can buy these from some pharmacies, vets and pet shops,” says Dr Ismat. “Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Slowly pull upwards, taking care not to squeeze or crush the tick. Dispose of it when you have removed it. Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water.” You’ll want to watch out for symptoms over the next few weeks, and book in to see you doctor if you feel unwell.

What is the treatment?

“In the early stages the illness can be easily treated by a course of antibiotics with a fantastic prognosis and no ongoing problems,” assures Dr Ismat. However, if the disease is left untreated it can lead to more serious problems.

“Chronic infection can be similar in symptoms to chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, with far ranging debilitating symptoms that can last for years. Rarer chronic infections can cause neurological, skin, heart and joint manifestations and are hard to treat.”

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