07/17/2014 08:31 EDT | Updated 07/17/2014 08:59 EDT

Lyme Disease Treatments To Prevent Long-Term Symptoms

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Lyme disease is on the rise in Canada, but there are ways you can treat and prevent it.

The tick-borne illness continues to be a concern in the Great White North with cases appearing in southern Ontario and Quebec.

Symptoms vary, but early infection can be characterized by flu-like signs such as a sore throat, congestion and headaches, according to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation.

Other symptoms include rashes where a tick has bitten you, or even on other parts of your body. They can be circular or oval in shape, and sometimes they can disappear and come back.

Even so, over 50 per cent of people with the disease say they had no rash at all.

But how does one treat the condition?

First, contact a health care provider if you don't feel well following a tick bite, Health Canada recommends.

Treatment periods can vary. Some cases can be helped with two to four weeks of antibiotics. Others may need longer treatment, depending on one's symptoms and when they were diagnosed.

Drugs used to treat early Lyme disease include amoxicillin, cefuroxime axetil and doxycyline, which are often prescribed for anywhere from two to three weeks.

Health Canada also recommends numerous methods for protecting against Lyme disease altogether.

They include covering up with long-sleeved shirts, pants and closed-toe shoes; using insect repellent that has Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) or Icaridin; and showering at least two hours after you've been outside to wash away any ticks.

Discarding the ticks within 24 to 36 hours normally prevents infection, the ministry says.

Obtaining treatment is important, as symptoms can last months, even years if the condition hasn't been addressed, CTV News reports.

Symptoms that can remain for long periods include arthritis, issues with the nervous system, or even numbness and paralysis, the network said.

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