There are several types of infections that humans have to cope with and a lot of them can be caused by bacteria. Ehrlichiosis is one such bacterial infection, which is usually transmitted through tick bites. This is more prevalent in mammals like dogs since they tend to spend more time in bushy and wooded regions. The infection can be transmitted to other animals, including humans as it is.
Human ehrlichiosis is the result of infection by ehrlicia chaffeensis. There are 4 variants of ehrlicia bacteria that have been found so far. The bacteria variants can be carried by various types of ticks- most commonplace ones being blacklegged tick, sheep tick and lone star tick. When a woman or man is bitten by any such infected tick, the bacteria get a chance to enter the bloodstream and that’s how the infection takes place. The intracellular bacteria attack the white blood cells in the body and thus affect the immune system. It does not however get transmitted from one infected person to another.
Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis
The initial symptoms of ehrlichiosis may mimic those of regular flu, making proper detection hard. The symptoms appear some days or even a week after getting bitten by an infected tick. The tick bites do not produce much pain or sensation, which makes diagnosis even harder. Not all infected persons exhibit same symptoms, and severity of symptoms can also vary, as it is. The early symptoms of this infection are:
In some cases, the human immune system manages to ward off the infection and kill the bacteria without intervention. If that does not happen, the affected person may exhibit some more symptoms of infection. These are:
- Severe joint pain
- Skin rash
- High fever
If left untreated, ehrlichiosis can also lead to kidney failure in afflicted people. People with weak immune system can also face the risk of respiratory failure. However, fatal situations arise only in a minuscule percentage of affected people, as per the studies.
Treatment Options For Ehrlichiosis
In most instances, doctors prescribe antibiotic doxycycline and tetracycline to treat ehrlichiosis and similar tick-borne infections. It needs to be used for a week or more, as per the situation. However, for pregnant women doctors may recommend different antibiotics like rifampin to avoid side effects.
Using the home remedies like anti-bacterial foods and products can benefit the recovery and most of these go well with antibiotic medications.
Home Remedies For Treating Ehrlichiosis
- Using Specific Herbs – Herbs like Licorice and ginger can be quite useful in battling Ehrlichiosis. They contain strong anti oxidant agents that help strengthen the immune system in the human body. Combined with antibiotics, these herbs help the body recover from the infection faster. They can be mixed with food and you may also use them to prepare tea.
- Tick Removal And Cleanup – In most cases, if you can remove the tick from skin soon after it sticks on, the chances of infection can be reduced. You can use tweezers to take the tick off the skin and then kill it by using alcohol solution. Crushing it with fingers is not advisable as doing so can spread body fluids that may contain bacteria. Then you will need to wash the spot where it bit with a medicated soap and water. It is necessary to keep tab on the tick bite spot on skin and watch for the development of symptoms.
- Preventive Measures – To minimize risk of Ehrlichiosis, you can adopt some preventive measures. Wear long clothes and boots to thwart the risk of ticks getting on your skin, especially if your work involves moving in green and dense wooded areas. You can also apply insect repellant creams and lotions on hands and legs to repel the ticks from getting close to you.
Things To Keep In Mind
Since Ehrlichiosis is basically a bacterium borne infection, it would be best to treat it with doctor advised antibiotics. You can try herbal remedies, but they should be used with the antibiotic. If necessary, you can consult with the doctor to earn about any issues regarding co-usage of such herbs with antibiotic for treating this infection.