Why You Should Care About Lyme Disease

Avril Lavigne had it, and so did Ashley Olsen and Richard Gere. But just what is it?

When Avril Lavigne revealed she's battling Lyme disease, all of a sudden we want to know all about an illness that we hardly hear about in Singapore. The Canadian singer was diagnosed with the illness a year-and-a-half ago, and was bedridden for five months because of it. Lavigne described it as feeling like “having all your life sucked out of you."

But what exactly is Lyme disease and what causes it? And should we be concerned? Lyme disease is a bacterial infection carried by ticks, mainly those found on deer, which is transmitted when these ticks bite a person. While treatable when caught early, it can be difficult to diagnose due to its non-specific symptoms such as a rash, fever and fatigue. But don’t underestimate its severity — it can lead to arthritis-like pain, cognitive difficulties and facial paralysis in worse cases.

Thankfully, it is not prevalent in this part of Asia. But if you should travel often to the US, particularly the North-east and Upper Midwest states, do take note of tick-bite-prevention measures. And while you can generally feel safe going around New York, doctors say it doesn’t hurt to load up on insect repellant should you be, say, doing something outdoorsy or making a trip to Central Park!

Other famous folks who have once been infected with Lyme disease include Ashley Olsen, Christy Turlington, Richard Gere and George W Bush.

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