What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease
Most of the people who get Lyme disease and receive treatment early will be fine. Treatment can cure Lyme disease but you might still have some long-term effects. Untreated Lyme disease may contribute to other serious problems but its rarely fatal.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
Even after proper treatment, some people may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. The symptoms dont mean that you still have an infection. PTLDS probably wont respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms that resolve at some point over the next six months.
Chronic Lyme disease
Chronic Lyme disease is a term used by some for a condition in a person who had Lyme disease and the symptoms of PTLDS. Some people consider chronic Lyme disease to be the same as PTLDS. However, some people receive a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis without a Lyme disease diagnosis. Sometimes, extended treatment with antibiotics helps.
This term may be why some people think a Lyme disease infection can occur without being bitten by a tick. There isn’t enough proof that mosquitoes can transmit Lyme disease. Many researchers dislike using the term chronic Lyme disease.
Q: Im Achy And Tired All The Time Could I Have Lyme Disease
The answer is yes. When a patient comes into my clinic for the first time, I take down their clinical history. If I suspect tick-borne disease, I ask if theyve been exposed to ticks or tick habitats. Have they observed any rashes?
The typical Lyme rash expands and is ring-like, usually not itchy or painful. If its under a persons hairline, between the toes, or on the back of the body, it may not be noticed. However, at least 21% of Lyme patients, and probably more than 50%, never see a tick or a rash.
Early Lyme patients present with flu-like symptoms. Tick bites and resulting symptoms often occur in the summer, but in my California practice, Lyme season may overlap with the fall/winter flu season, confusing the diagnostic picture.
Next, I do a complete physical exam, with an emphasis on neurological deficits, such as loss of balance, tremors, facial asymmetry , and asymmetric reflexes. Then, I ask about the progression of their symptoms over time.
In the first few months of Lyme disease, patients often experience malaise, fatigue, mild-to-severe headaches, nerve pain or tingling in the hands or feet, all in a relapsing-remitting course. In other words, the symptoms wax and wane.
If Lyme is diagnosed four or more months after symptom onset, the picture of the disease is different and variable. The longer between infection and diagnosis, the higher likelihood that more bodily systems have been invaded.
Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.
It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s also no agreed treatment.
Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.
The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:
- referral for a care needs assessment
- telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
- communicating with children and families’ social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
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Treatment Of Lyme Disease
Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease is important and can help prevent late Lyme disease. The following treatment regimens reflect CDCs interpretation of the most current data for four important manifestations of Lyme disease. These regimens are consistent with guidanceexternal icon published by the by the Infectious Disease Society of America, American Academy of Neurology, and American College of Rheumatology.
Some patients report persistent symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking even after treatment for Lyme disease. The state of the science relating to persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease is limited, emerging, and unsettled.
Additional researchexternal icon is needed to better understand how to treat, manage, and support people with persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease. In light of these research gaps, recommendations for treatment of persistent symptoms in people previously treated for Lyme disease are not provided here.
If you are interested in information on chronic Lyme diseaseexternal icon, see NIHs website.
Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.
The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.
The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. It’s not usually hot or itchy.
The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.
Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- tiredness and loss of energy
Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later.
This is more likely if treatment is delayed.
These more severe symptoms may include:
- pain and swelling in joints
- nerve problems such as pain or numbness
- trouble with memory or concentration
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Why Do I Need A Lyme Disease Test
You may need a test if you have symptoms of infection and were exposed or possibly exposed to ticks that carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The first symptoms of Lyme disease usually show up between 3 and 30 days after the tick bite.
Early signs and symptoms may include:
- A reddish round skin rash that slowly gets bigger over several days. It usually doesn’t itch or hurt, but it may be warm. As it gets better, it may look like a bull’s-eye , but not always.
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Later signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually affect your joints and nervous system. They include:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Rashes on other parts of your body
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees
- Pain that comes and goes in your muscles, joints, bones, and tendons
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet
Who Is At Risk
Many occupations may be at risk, including forestry, farming, veterinarians, construction, landscaping, ground keepers, park or wildlife management, and anyone who either works outside or has contact with animals that may carry ticks
Similarly, any person who spends a lot time outdoors , especially in grassy or wooded areas may also be at risk.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Prompt treatment for Lyme disease reduces the risk of lingering symptoms and complications. If youve already been treated with antibiotics but continue to experience issues, talk to your healthcare provider to determine if additional treatment is necessary. Patience and proactive communication with your healthcare professional will help you get back to your usual state of health.
Using Antibiotics To Treat Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is typically treated with antibiotics, although the type of antibiotic used depends on what stage of the disease you have.
After you remove a deer tick that has been attached to you for at least 36 hours the amount of time it takes for the tick to transmit the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi theres a 72-hour window during which your doctor may give you a single dose of the antibiotic doxycycline to prevent the development of Lyme disease.
Doxycycline is prescribed to patients age 8 and older, except for pregnant women. Not everyone in this situation will receive doxycycline the deer tick bite needs to have occurred in a highly endemic area .
If you have localized Lyme disease with the telltale bulls-eye rash, also known as erythema migrans, but no other significant symptoms, your doctor will most likely treat you with oral doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime for 10 to 14 days. If you have early disseminated Lyme disease, which may include the characteristic rash along with cardiac or neurologic symptoms, the treatment duration is lengthened to 14 to 21 days.
Late disseminated Lyme disease is also treated with various antibiotics:
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Background And Diagnosis Of Cardiac Manifestations Of Lyme Disease
Patients with symptomatic cardiac involvement associated with Lyme disease usually present with the acute onset of varying degrees of intermittent atrioventricular heart block, sometimes in association with clinical evidence of myopericarditis . Electrophysiologic studies have usually demonstrated block occurring above the bundle of His, often involving the atrioventricular node, but heart block may occur at multiple levels . Severe or fulminant congestive heart failure or development of valvular heart disease is not associated with Lyme disease . In the United States, there is no convincing evidence that Lyme disease is a cause of chronic cardiomyopathy .
Because of the potential for life-threatening complications, hospitalization and continuous monitoring are advisable for symptomatic patients . These interventions are also suggested for patients with second- or third-degree atrioventricular block, as well as for those with first degree heart block when the PR interval is prolonged to 30 milliseconds, because the degree of block may fluctuate and worsen very rapidly in such patients .
What’s The Best Way To Prevent A Tick Bite
Ticks can’t fly or jump. But they live in shrubs and bushes and can grab onto you when you pass by. To avoid getting bitten:
- Wear pants and socks in areas with lots of trees and when you touch fallen leaves.
- Wear a tick repellent on your skin and clothing that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus.
- For even more protection, use the chemical permethrin on clothing and camping gear.
- Shower within 2 hours after coming inside. Look for ticks on your skin, and wash ticks out of your hair.
- Put your clothing and any exposed gear into a hot dryer to kill whatever pests might be on them.
How do you know if you’ve been bitten?
Since ticks are so small, you’ve got to have pretty good eyes to see them.
If you have a small, red bump on your skin that looks like a mosquito bite, it could be a tick bite. If it goes away in a few days, itâs not a problem. Remember, a tick bite doesnât necessarily mean you have Lyme disease.
If you notice a rash in the shape of a bull’s-eye, you might have a tick bite. Talk to your doctor about treatment.
If you have an allergic reaction to ticks, you’ll notice a bite right away.
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What If A Tick Bites My Dog
The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.
Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.
About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.
What if my dog brings ticks into my home?
Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.
Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.
Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.
John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â
American College of Rheumatology.
What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. In regions of the U.S. where Lyme disease is common, risk factors for getting bitten by a tick include:
- Spending a lot of time outdoors
- Proximity to areas between forest land and lawns, particularly if the area contains low-lying grasses or shrubs
Ticks can also attach to pets who may bring them into the home. The pet may become infected with Lyme disease. If the tick does not attach to the pet, it can attach to a human and transmit the infection.
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The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
If Lyme disease is caught early, it will typically be treated with a short course of an antibiotic such as doxycycline or amoxicillin.
While new studies are in the works, there are no current proven treatments for the minority of people who develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Most of these individuals will find that their post-treatment Lyme disease heals on its own over the course of a few months.
My Experience Of A Lyme Relapse
Earlier this year, I caught a nasty virus . It was a long, gruelling illness which led to me being in bed for 5 weeks, followed by months of slow recovery. About 5 months after falling ill, I started to notice an aggressive resurgence of old Lyme symptoms. I was having a relapse.
I immediately kicked off my old treatment protocol using my ESP101, treating once per week. And to my surprise, I started experiencing awful herx reactions again. However, it only took me two months of treatment to get back on track.
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How To Remove A Tick
A tick must remain attached to the skin for at least 36 hours to spread Lyme disease. The best way of preventing Lyme disease is to remove a tick as soon as possible.
The blacklegged tick that spreads disease-causing bacteria resembles a tiny spider. Young ticks are around the size of a poppy seed, while adult ticks are around the size of a sesame seed. Ticks of all ages are reddish-brown.
Below are some steps for tick removal.
- Step 1: Use fine-tipped tweezers to gently grasp the tick near its head or mouth. Avoid squeezing the tick.
- Step 2: Using the tweezers, pull the tick carefully and steadily away from the skin. Avoid yanking or twisting the tick, as this could cause its mouthparts to remain in the skin.
- Step 3: After removing the tick, dispose of it by putting it in some alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.
- Step 4: Apply antiseptic to the tick bite.
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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.
Is There A Treatment For Lyme Disease
Traditional approaches to Lyme disease include to treat the infection with borrelia with the use of antibiotics. Most experts agree that 2-4 weeks of antibiotic therapy is indicated for acute Lyme disease, or immediately after infection. Many advocate up to 9 months of antibiotic therapy, even though there are no studies supporting long-term antibiotic use.4 This method is based on the germ theory i.e. that if the germ is killed then the host will recover. However antibiotics will wipe out the bad bacteria as well as the good bacteria leaving your microbiome severely unbalanced and most importantly your immune system weak. In addition the initial symptoms of Lyme disease are flu-like so often go undetected until they become chronic. The CDC and IDSA5 , do not recommend antibiotic treatment unless you have an official diagnosis of Lyme disease.
An integrative approach focuses on strengthening the body to allow the bodys innate healing capacities to thrive. My 5 Step Plan not only is focused on healing Lyme disease but also creating long term wellness and not another disease to deal with down the road potentially from the treatment methods.
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