Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
Why Are Antibiotics The First Line Of Treatment For Lyme Disease
The use of antibiotics is critical for treating Lyme disease. Without antibiotic treatment, the Lyme disease causing bacteria can evade the host immune system, disseminate through the blood stream, and persist in the body. Antibiotics go into the bacteria preferentially and either stop the multiplication of the bacteria or disrupt the cell wall of the bacteria and kill the bacteria . By stopping the growth or killing the bacteria the human host immune response is given a leg up to eradicate the residual infection. Without antibiotics, the infection in Lyme disease can evade the host immune system and more readily persist.
How Does Lyme Disease Work
The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease when it get into your bloodstream. You may experience a variety of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection.
Early on, typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever,chills, headache, joint aches and most distinctively a spreading rash thatresembles a bulls-eye.
But if itisnt identified and treated within 36 to 48 hours, the infection can spread toother parts of your body, including the heart and nervous system.
The later,more serious stages of Lyme disease can lead to neurological damage andarthritis.
Read Also: Treating Dogs For Lyme Disease
The Truth About Antibiotic Treatments
Until recently, many doctors in Canada tended to prescribe only one round of antibiotics, irrespective of the stage of infection. However, current research suggests that a single course of antibiotics is often insufficient for treating Lyme disease, especially if the infection has been untreated for several months.
Can Lyme Disease Be Cured
Even when treated in later stages, most patients will respond well to antibiotics, though there may be some chronic damage to the nervous system or joints.
The type of tick that carries Lyme disease feeds on deer and mice, and can only infect a human if it remains attached to a person for at least a day and a half.
Recommended Reading: Dogs And Lyme Disease Treatment
My Treatment For Late Stage Lyme Disease
Before even getting the test results I went back to my doctor to get on antibiotics ASAP. We decided I should start a round of Doxycycline immediately, and I was given a one month prescription.
I was so happy when I got my giant blue pills. Within a few days the mental fog started to lift. It was incredible being able to just focus on a project for more than a few hours.
I found ways to do some things
Then, I started having what felt like muscle spasms. There was intense burning pain in the back of my leg, but no actual spasms. It kept me in bed most days, and awake at night. This lasted for a couple of weeks as the bacteria was killed off. The pain subsided just enough to go on our trip to Grenada nearly a month later.
Biorepositories And Research Cohorts
Well-characterized samples are an essential tool to help researchers develop and validate new diagnostic tests and to better understand the complexities of LD. Well-characterized sample sets can benefit medical providers, test developers, and the public at risk for LD . It is critical that sample users understand the criteria used to enroll participants, how samples were collected and stored, and what additional clinical and testing data may be available. Additional benefits can be realized when multiple sample users are using the same well-characterized sample sets. Current sample sets available for researchers include the CDC Lyme Serum Repository , the Lyme Disease Biobank , and samples from the Studies of Lyme Immunology and Clinical Events at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Additionally, some investigators also have their own sample collections with, in some cases, blood samples, skin biopsy specimens and synovial fluid which form the basis for collaborative studies .
Lyme Disease Biobank
Lyme Disease Research Center
Long Island Outdoor Worker Cohort
Also Check: Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease Picture
How I Stopped Chasing A Cureand Healed From Lyme Disease
At 28 years old, and after years of suffering from medical issues that no doctor across the U.S. could unravel, I was finally given a name to the condition that had taken almost my entire life away: late-stage Lyme disease.
I took my diagnosis like an over-sized bag of groceries at the checkout stand, wrapped my arms around as best I could, and set off to get a cure and get back to life.
But it didnt work seamlessly. It didnt work easily. It really didnt work at all.
I tried treatment after treatment trying to save my young life. With some treatments, I saw massive improvement, only later to rebound in ways that deflated me again.
But I continued searching with inner chaos, ruled by fear. I feared I was missing the cure, not choosing the right treatments, not looking in the right places.
I went on marathon internet searches, talked to everyone I could find with Lyme disease, and was in a constant state of panic that my broken body would never be put back together again.
Late Stage Lyme Disease Symptoms Started Showing
About 4-5 months in, I woke up to a particularly stiff knee. I figured I just needed to work it out, so I did some squats and went for a bike ride it didnt help. The swelling and pain progressed until I was barely able to clear the snow in our driveway or walk up steps. With a surfing trip coming up, I went to the doctor to sort it out.
My doctor told me I should have been taking more ibuprofen to bring the inflammation down, and sent me to an orthopedist who took x-rays. Nothing showed up, and the orthopedist gave me the same directions as the doctor take ibuprofen. So I spent the next few weeks on the couch popping ibuprofen like candy.
The swelling went down, and over the next couple of months I made two trips to surf in Costa Rica. At this point I was having headaches, and my eye was twitching under strong sunlight. I thought it was weird, but was having too much fun surfing. My knee even started to feel better being in the water.
Time out of the water was spent icing my knee
In between the trips I had another issue with a lot of rib pain and my doctor put me on a steroid which also helped with my knee. I surfed the whole second trip but my knee was getting stiffer.
Recommended Reading: Lyme Disease Breakthrough At Mayo Clinic
Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Acute And Late Stage Lyme
One reason chronic Lyme disease is harder to detect and treat than Lyme at earlier stages is that chronic Lyme disease symptoms are more wide-ranging and varied. Chronic Lyme disease can cause symptoms of early Lyme disease such as fatigue and muscle aches to recur, but it can also cause new symptoms that affect different parts of the body.
Antibiotic Treatment For Early
The first line of treatment for early Lyme disease is antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics include:
- Cefuroxime axetil
These antibiotics are most often administered orally, though intravenous administration is necessary for some patients. Programs are typically 2 weeks long but can be as long as 4 or more weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Infectious Diseases Society of America maintain that most cases of Lyme disease clear up quickly from a short course of antibiotics. However, as you will see later in this article, there is much evidence showing that Lyme that is not detected early can actually be very difficult to treat and that even early treatment can be unsuccessful. The presence of coinfections can also complicate the treatment process, again emphasizing the need for comprehensive testing at a specialty lab.
Finally, as acknowledged by the CDC, some Lyme patients experience ongoing or recurrent symptoms despite having received treatment for Lyme. These patients are said to have Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome . Is this caused by untreated coinfections, persistence of Bb , permanent damage, or an as-yet unidentified immune system problem? The jury is still out, but all may be possible.
Don’t Miss: Lyme Literate Doctors Los Angeles
What If I Don’t Feel Better After Treatment
If you’re treated for Lyme disease and don’t feel better after youve finished your treatment, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a longer course of antibiotics or may be able to prescribe another medication to help with symptoms like joint or muscle pain.
You might also want to seek a second opinion, especially if your Lyme disease diagnosis was not initially confirmed via a two-step blood test. If your body has not responded to antibiotics, its possible that something else besides the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is making you sick. In 2017, for example, the CDC reported on a woman who was given antibiotics and herbal remedies to treat her chronic Lyme disease, when she actually hadand eventually died fromamyotrophic lateral sclerosis .
Even if you do recover completely from a Lyme disease diagnosis, your immune system may continue making antibodies to fight Lyme disease bacteria for months or even years after the infection is gone. Those antibodies wont protect you from getting a second Lyme disease infection, however, so be sure to take steps to protect yourself from ticks in the future.
What Are The Side Effects Of Lyme Disease Treatments
Antibiotics, like all medications, have the potential for side effects. Any antibiotic can cause skin rashes, and if an itchy red rash develops while on antibiotics, a patient should see their physician. Sometimes symptoms worsen for the first few days on an antibiotic. This is called a Herxheimer reaction and occurs when the antibiotics start to kill the bacteria. In the first 24 to 48 hours, dead bacterial products stimulate the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that can cause increased fever and achiness. This should be transient and last no more than a day or two after the initiation of antibiotics.
The most common side effect of the penicillin antibiotics is diarrhea, and occasionally even serious cases caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. This bacterial overgrowth condition occurs because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in our gut. It can be helpful to use probiotics to restore the good bacteria and microbiome balance.
Read Also: Lyme Disease Support Group Nj
Johns Hopkins Team Creates Lyme And Tick
A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has created and posted online a free Lyme and tick-borne disease dashboard. The group has published a paper describing the information available on the dashboard and how to use it on the open-access site PLOS ONE.
Transmission Of Bb Via Ixodes Spp Vectors
The black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus on the West Coast, are the primary vectors of Bb in the USA. In endemic areas, the proportion of Ixodes spp. ticks infected with Bb can be remarkably high. One recent survey of the pathogen burden of 197 Ixodes scapularis ticks collected from New York and Connecticut where LD is endemic, revealed 111 ticks were infected with Bb and 37 were co-infected with more than one human pathogen . The high pathogen burden is consistent with previous tick surveys in the same region . In contrast, the percent of infected ticks in other regions of the USA is much lower. In recently published surveys across California, for example, fewer than 5% of Ixodes spp. ticks were infected . Ixodes ticks sometimes carry multiple strains of Bb that may impact the course of disease in people that are co-infected. One tick survey showed that 39% of Ixodes ticks in North America are infected with multiple genotypes of Bb .
Don’t Miss: Lyme Vaccine For Dogs How Often
Diagnosis Testing And Treatment
You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.
Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.
It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:
If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.
- Report being bitten by a tick, or
- Live in, or have recently visited, a tick-infested area.
Finally Getting A Diagnosis For Lyme Disease
When I got back from Costa Rica, I was about seven months into the ordeal. My knee was swollen like a cantaloupe. I was also getting very tired and lethargic, and spent most days in bed surfing Reddit and YouTube. I couldnt focus enough to do anything else like writing.
Depression hits me hard when Im not productive, and this was the first time that I thought Id rather be at work. Anytime I tried to exercise, my symptoms would get even worse, and my brain was mush.
I saw my doctor again, and asked to see a better orthopedist who drew fluid from my knee. From the color of the fluid he immediately suspected Lyme disease. My knee fluid and blood were sent out for testing.
I started googling and found that I matched all the symptoms for late stage Lyme knee swelling, lack of energy, depression, headaches, light sensitivity. All of the sudden everything clicked, and I was filled with a combination or remorse and relief.
You May Like: How Do You Feel When You Have Lyme Disease
Early Localized Lyme Disease
During this stage, the infection has not yet spread to other parts of the body. Diagnosing Lyme disease during stage 1 gives you the best chances of a quicker recovery.
Early localized Lyme disease commonly begins with a rash called erythema migrans. This rash, which occurs in 70% to 80% of infected people, typically develops seven days after a bite but can occur within three to 30 days.
The rash grows slowly over several days and can be more than 12 inches in diameter. The rash may be warm to the touch but is not usually painful or itchy. Some people may develop the classic bulls eye rash, but the rash’s appearance can vary greatly.
The following symptoms may also be present with or without a rash:
- Joint or muscle pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
People treated during this stage often recover quickly and completely. Treatment involves 10 to 14 days of oral antibiotics.
Unfortunately, 10% to 25% of cases may go unnoticed and progress to later stages of the disease.
How Can Lyme Disease Last For Years
Category: Health Published: October 9, 2015
If treated, Lyme disease does not last for years. However, for some people, the after-effects of the disease can linger for months and sometimes even years. Alternative medicine providers call this condition “Chronic Lyme disease,” but this title is simply wrong. For a person who has been infected with Lyme disease and then treated, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is measurably no longer present in his body, even though he may still feel some symptoms. The correct title for this condition is therefore “Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.”
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is delivered to humans through tick bites. From the bite site, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. Usually, but not always, an infectious tick bite causes a characteristic red rash at the site of the bite. Other symptoms include fever, muscle soreness, headache, fatigue, and dizziness. In a few cases, symptoms can also include mood swings, memory loss, and sleep disturbance. If left untreated for too long, Lyme disease can lead to nerve damage, thereby causing shooting pain, numbness, and even paralysis.
The CDC states,
Recommended Reading: Can Stage 3 Lyme Disease Be Cured