Early 1st Lyme Disease Stage
The first phase of Lyme disease is known as the early stage. If treated within the first month, the infected person can usually overcome it with a prescription antibiotic. Treatment in the first 30 days can also mean the difference between rapid recovery and a chronic condition.
Symptoms begin three to thirty days after contracting the disease. Initial symptoms include a lack of energy, headaches and a stiff neck, fever and chills, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. These generic symptoms may be misdiagnosed, especially if the patient was unaware of the initial bite or contraction of Lyme disease.
Some patients do not experience any symptoms initially. Less than 50 percent of those infected see an expanding, circular red bulls eye rash before seeing a doctor. The rash is medically known as erythema chronicum migrans, Latin for chronic migrating redness. It may be warm to the touch, but it does not itch and is not painful.
The infection rash is a sign that the bacteria are multiplying in the bloodstream. The bullseye can last up to four weeks. Some people will have a solid red rash. On darker-skinned people, the rash may look like a bruise. Therefore, you need to be aware of the other early-stage symptoms.
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Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Stage 3 or late disseminated Lyme disease is the final stage of the disease. A person may enter this stage if they did not receive treatment for Lyme disease in the early stages, or if their symptoms persisted despite treatment. As such, doctors sometimes refer to this stage as chronic or post-treatment Lyme disease .
Stage 3 Lyme disease can occur after an infected tick bites a person.
A person with stage 3 Lyme disease may experience additional symptoms, including:
- severe joint pain and swelling, known as chronic Lyme arthritis
- heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat, due to Lyme carditis
- inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- mental fogginess
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.
If you already have stage 1 or stage 2 Lyme disease with the telltale bulls-eye rash but no other significant symptoms, your doctor will most likely treat you with oral doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime for 14 to 21 days.
Stage 3 Lyme disease is also treated with various antibiotics:
- For Lyme disease that causes arthritis, 28 days of oral doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime is prescribed. Additional courses of antibiotics may be necessary, depending on the severity and persistence of your symptoms.
- For Lyme disease affecting the nervous system , two to four weeks of intravenous ceftriaxone or penicillin is prescribed.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed And Treated
Lyme disease is usually diagnosed when a person develops a bull’s-eye rash, flu-like symptoms , or both. These symptoms usually start a few days or weeks after the person is bitten by an infected tick.
A two-step blood test can verify the presence of Lyme disease antibodies, although it does take a few weeks for those antibodies to develop. And despite what some physicians and advocacy groups claim, a blood test is the only way Lyme disease can be confirmed, Larry Zemel, MD, head of rheumatology at Connecticut Childrens Medical Center, tells Health. Some doctors say they can diagnose Lyme even when patients test negative repeatedly, but that has not been borne out by any scientific study, he says.
When people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in its early stages, a 10- to 20-day course of oral antibioticsusually with a drug called doxycyclinewill clear the infection and help them feel better fairly quickly. This cures the vast majority of people, and they have a 100% recovery with no lasting effects, says Dr. Zemel.
If Lyme disease isnt diagnosed right away, it can cause more serious symptoms like arthritis and memory problems. These people may need a full month of oral antibiotics, says Dr. Zemel. About 20% of these patients will need IV antibiotics , and they may also need other medications to treat symptoms like pain and muscle stiffness.
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a multisystem illness caused by infection with the microorganism, Borrelia burgdorferi, and the bodys immune response to its infection. The illness is transmitted from tick bites when the tick regurgitates the microorganism. Lyme disease is known as a vector-borne disease. Because the ticks are extremely small and their bites are painless, the biting event very often goes unnoticed.
Prognosis is excellent and most patients recover completely if treated early.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
There are three stages of Lyme disease:
Stage 1: Early localized disease
- Occurs one to 30 days after a tick bite
- Characteristic skin rash of Lyme disease
- Migrating red rash with bullseye appearance occurring at or near the site of the tick bite
- Asymptomatic or itches or burns
- Develops around seven days after the tick bite
- Rash expands over a matter of days
Stage 3: Late disease
- If untreated, Lyme disease can progress to chronic Lyme disease or stage 3 of Lyme disease. Stage 3 Lyme disease occurs months to years after the initial infection or a period of latency. Most patients presenting with late disease do not have erythema migrans because the rash urges the patient to seek treatment earlier.
- Skin manifestation:
- Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans: Found almost exclusively in patients of European descent. It commonly affects older women and is characterized by bluish-red discoloration on the back of the hands, feet, knees and elbows.
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.
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Theres No Lyme Disease Vaccine
There was a simple, safe, effective vaccine for Lyme disease about 20 years ago. Sam Telford, Director of the New England Regional Biosafety Laboratory at Tufts University, helped develop it in the early 1990s. Sadly, he says, it now sits on a shelf.
Telford and his team came up with a unique method where the vaccinated animals blood came into the tick and killed the bacteria before they had a chance to get into the body. SmithKline Beecham company, now GlaxoSmithKline, optioned the vaccine and tested it in three-phase clinical trials with 8,000 subjects, finding it safe and 6o percent to 70 percent effective in preventing illness. The FDA approved it for sale in 1998, but the company withdrew it in 2002 because of lawsuits.
Lyme disease activists said, Oh, well this vaccine gave us Lyme disease, or it gave us arthritis, Telford says. They instituted a class action lawsuit against SmithKline to the tune of $1 billion.
The CDC said there was no medical basis for the lawsuit, and it was thrown out of court. Still, the company got cold feet. They withdrew the vaccine from the market, and its been sitting in their freezer ever since.
In the meantime, a veterinary vaccine maker known as Meriel packaged the vaccine for use in dogs. Its essentially the same one that went through human clinical trials, says Telford. So we can vaccinate dogs against Lyme with a vaccine that is safe and effective, but we cant do it for humans.
Treatment For Erythema Migrans
People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help prevent late Lyme disease.
Treatment regimens listed in the following table are for the erythema migrans rash, the most common manifestation of early Lyme disease. These regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a persons age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions.
|100 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, three times per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|4.4 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||100 mg per dose|
|50 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 3 doses||500 mg per dose|
|30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||500 mg per dose|
*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize unnecessary antibiotics that might result in adverse effects, including infectious diarrhea and antimicrobial resistance.
NOTE: For people intolerant of amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime, the macrolide azithromycin may be used, although it is less effective. People treated with azithromycin should be closely monitored to ensure that symptoms resolve.
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Acute Lyme Disease Treatment
Our oldest child came home from a camping trip in Rancho San Antonio Park with a mysterious rash. It was just above the ankle. It had a faint single ring around the main rash . We rushed her to the pediatrician and LLMD to get prescriptions for antibiotics. Some practitioners are of the opinion that it is much more difficult for the body to deal with re-exposure and potentially several different strains of Lyme and co-infections. I didnt want to take any chances, since I knew how debilitated she was with the first Lyme infection. I didnt want her to be that sick ever again. Dr. Klinghardt is of the opinion that one only gets a bulls-eye rash if one already had Lyme disease . This is certainly consistent with our familys experience none of us had a bulls-eye rash when we were initially infected, but the oldest child got one the second time around. Is there an acute Lyme disease cure? I knew we had a chance with immediate antibiotic therapy, before the new strain of Lyme had a chance to bore, encyst and hide in her joints and organs. The research on acute Lyme treatment with antibiotics is actually pretty convincing 80%+ numbers being reported.
Here was our Acute Lyme disease treatment protocol. This was based on the weight of a 50lb child.
Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.
The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in the highly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.
If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.
Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.external iconAm J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.
There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.
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Treatment Within 30 Days Of Initial Tick Bite
Studies show that 80 to 90% of people, who take a two to three week course of antibiotics within 30 days after a known acute tick bite, do not develop chronic Lyme disease. Based on my experience, these people are cured of Lyme disease – they will not have further problems with Lyme disease, unless they get a new tick bite.
For the best chance of cure in acute Lyme, I found doxycycline to works best in my Seattle practice. But if a person cannot take doxycycline, cefuroxime or amoxicillin is an option. These are the three antibiotics recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. In my experience, I find these work better in an acute setting than herbal antibiotics at getting a cure.
Can You Get Rid Of Lyme Disease Without Antibiotics
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.
The symptoms of a flare-up can include: an increase in fatigue. problems with memory and concentration, sometimes referred to as brain fog extreme sensitivity to bright lights, heat, cold, and noise.
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Q: Once Diagnosed How Should You Treat Lyme Disease
Research over the last three decades suggests that Lyme bacteria have multiple ways of evading the human immune system and that treating acute Lyme with 21 days of antibiotics fails approximately a third of patients.
For that reason, I treat in two phases. For early Lyme, I treat with four weeks of doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime antibiotics.
I follow this up with four more weeks of drugs that prevent and eradicate persister forms of the bacteria. The persisters are drug-tolerant and can revert to an active infection once the antibiotics are stopped.
I aggressively treat late-Lyme patients who have severe degenerative neurologic or rheumatologic cases. As noted above, the very sick patients frequently have a mixture of tick-borne infections.
For these patients, I choose a combination of oral or, when needed, intravenous antibiotics that target the pathogens known to be present.
Is Lyme Disease Curable
The tick-borne illness can be treated with antibiotics, and most people make a full recovery within weeks or months. So why is there so much confusion?
In much of the country, spring and summer mean warmer weather and spending more time outdoors. Unfortunately, it also means that the ticks that carry Lyme disease bacteria may be out in full force, especially in wooded or grassy areas.
About 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although experts estimate that 10 times that amount may actually be infected. Thats concerning, because if left untreated, Lyme disease can cause nerve damage, memory loss, dangerous inflammation around the heart, and other permanent health problems.
But the good news is that Lyme disease is also very treatableespecially when its diagnosed soon after symptoms begin. Lyme disease is always curable, Daniel Kuritzkes, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, tells Health. The medications we have are very effective at getting rid of the infection. Heres what else you need to know.
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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,