Other Infections Associated With Tick Bites
Ticks can carry a number of other bacterial and viral infectious agents, sometimes at the same time as the Lyme disease organisms. In the eastern part of the United States, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis may occur independently or with Lyme disease after tick bites.
Transmission of more than one agent in Europe and the UK is rare, with only a handful of cases reported with definite evidence of co-infection.
In other parts of the world, viruses such as tick-borne encephalitis virus can cause infections that may be mistaken for Lyme disease. Depending on where the patient was exposed, other infections may also give rise to symptoms similar to Lyme disease.
Early Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control each year. The risk of Lyme disease is greatest in the spring and summer when the disease is commonly transmitted through tick bites.
Preventing tick bites is key to fending off an infection, but if you do get bit, look out for these early symptoms of Lyme disease:
Signs And Symptoms Of Untreated Lyme Disease
Seek medical attention if you observe any of these symptoms and have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.
Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.
The appearance of the erythema migrans rash can vary widely.
- Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of rash
- Erythema migrans rash :
- Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
- Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days
- Expands gradually over several days reaching up to 12 inches or more across
- May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
- Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or bulls-eye appearance
- May appear on any area of the body
- Does not always appear as a classic erythema migrans rash
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat
- Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
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Stage : Quickly Expanding Rash
After being bitten by a black-legged tick, a quickly growing rash can appear. This is the earliest stage of Lyme disease, known as stage 1.
Most people who develop a rash, get it within days or weeks of being bitten by a tick.
Where you see the rash: If you develop a rash, it appears near the tick bit you. For most people, that means the back, groin, armpit, or a lower leg. However, a tick can bite you anywhere.
What the rash can look like: You may see a spot or bump on the skin, which is the bite mark. Around or near the bite mark, a rash develops. Some people see the bulls-eye rash . You can also have one of the other rashes shown here.
Early rash caused by Lyme disease
Notice the bite mark in the center of this early rash, which will expand quickly.
Bull’s-eye rash on woman’s upper arm
This is another early sign of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease rash with lighter color on the outside
This rash has expanded, but you can still see the bite mark in the center.
Rash from Lyme disease has begun to clear
As the rash begins to clear, the redness fades.
If you develop a rash during this stage, you may notice that it:
Feels smooth and warm to the touch
Causes a burning sensation
Itches or feels painful
Has an outer edge that feels scaly or crusty
When the rash and symptoms begin: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the rash begins 3 to 30 days after the tick bites you.
About 50% of people who have Lyme disease develop flu-like symptoms , which include:
Does Lyme Disease Rash Go Away
Yes, the Lyme disease rash can go away, and sometimes, with some people, it can return. The presence of the rash is proof positive that Borrelia was transmitted, however, the absence of the rash means nothing. A rash, or erythema migrans, occurs in fewer than 50% of people who contract Lyme disease,
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Can Lyme Disease Rash Itch
If you develop a Lyme disease rash, you probably won’t be scratching your skin until it’s raw. Still, Lyme disease rashes can be slightly itchy, even mildly painful, said Dr. Aucott, but they don’t itch like a case of poison ivy.
Lyme rashes often feel warm to the touch as well. Your healthcare provider may perform what’s called a “crossover test” to gauge whether the area feels warmer than the rest of your skin, said Dr. Johnson. Here’s what that involves: Let’s say the rash is behind one knee. You place one hand on the rash and your other hand in the same area of the unaffected knee, wait a few seconds, and then switch hands. If there’s a difference in temperature, you’ll notice it.
Can Lyme Disease Mess With Your Thyroid
Only a handful of studies have described an association between Lyme disease and thyroid dysfunction, while even fewer have shown Lyme disease to cause both thyroiditis and carditis.
In their article Coexisting Thyroiditis and Carditis in a Patient with Lyme Disease: Looking for a Unifying Diagnosis, Zarghamravanbakhsh and colleagues described the case of a 53-year-old woman who was found to have carditis and painless, autoimmune thyroiditis, likely due to Lyme disease.¹
A few days after returning from a trip to Delaware, the woman developed headaches, heat intolerance, near-syncope , and a 5 x5 centimeter rash on her chest. Although she did not recall having a tick bite, she had several encounters with deer during her visit to Delaware.
One week later, her symptoms progressed. She reported having shortness of breath on exertion and palpitations.
Initially, the woman was diagnosed with Lyme carditis, after her ECG showed a first-degree AV block.
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Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early. These can include:
- pain and swelling in the joints
- nerve problems such as numbness or pain in your limbs
- memory problems
- difficulty concentrating
Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment. But they can persist if treatment is started late.
A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens. It’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.
Lyme Disease Skin Problems
Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a vector-borne disease caused by the Borrelia bacterium which is spread by ticks in the genus Ixodes. The most common sign of infection is an expanding red rash, known as erythema migrans, that appears at the site of the tick bite about a week after it occurred. The rash is typically neither itchy nor painful.
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Can Lyme Disease Cause Multiple Rashes
The most common early sign of Lyme disease is a skin rash that has a bulls eye appearance. It begins as a reddened area near the tick bite. As the rash increases in size, it clears in the middle and develops a red ring around the outside. A person may experience multiple rashes, such as you see here.
What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
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Atypical Lyme Rashes And Less
In some cases, the Lyme disease rash doesnt look like a bulls eye at all. It can be blistered , cause a bluish swelling , be uniform in color instead of banded, be oval or triangular in shape, or just look like a large red area . You can see a picture of atypical Lyme disease on a black man here.
There are also many instances of Lyme rashes which are considered to be bulls-eye shaped, but dont have the white band inside. The message? Dont expect a Lyme rash to look like a perfect bulls eye. If you suspect Lyme, contact your doctor!
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When Should I Call The Doctor
If a tick bites you, call your doctor. Other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s always a good idea to discuss them with your doctor. That way you can get checked and treated, if needed. Call right away if you get a red-ringed rash, lasting flu-like symptoms, joint pain or a swollen joint, or facial paralysis.
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How Do I Remove A Tick
You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.
If you find a tick:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your skin.
- Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. If part of the tick stays in your skin, don’t worry. It will eventually come out. But call your doctor if you notice any irritation in the area or symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Note: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won’t get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.
Stop The Itching Lyme And Hives
byJennifer Crystalon February 13, 2020
Do you get unexplained hives? Could it be Lyme disease?
Four years after I was bitten by a tickand four years before I would be diagnosed with three tick-borne illnesses: Lyme, babesia, and ehrlichiaI started getting hives. They presented at random times and didnt seem to be associated with anything I ate. They sometimes came on mid morning while I was teaching a class, or in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. Suddenly my body would feel aflame with itchiness, and big red welts would form all over my torso, back, and limbs. Often my face or hands turned bright red too.
I wasnt using any new soaps or detergents. I hadnt tried any new foods. Allergy tests showed I hadnt developed any new allergies either, besides those Id had since childhood dust, mold, hay fever and animal dander. But none of those allergens had ever given me hives. Lots of people have unknown allergies, the allergist shrugged, not concerned with digging deeper into the derivation of my itchiness. Just take an over-the-counter antihistamine, he said.
If youre struggling with idiopathic hives and havent been diagnosed with tick-borne disease, consider seeing an LLMD to find out if Lyme or one of its co-infections might be causing your inflammation. If you have already been diagnosed with a tick-borne infection and are experiencing hives, hopefully some of my techniques, coupled with medication, will help alleviate your suffering.
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Stage 2 And 3 Lyme Rashes
During stages 2 and 3 of Lyme disease, rashes may also be present. During stage 2, the rash will take roughly one to six months to appear. It will be markedly different from stage 1 and appear as small oval-shaped rashes, typically appearing on various parts of the body such as the face, legs, and arms. The center of a stage 2 Lyme disease rash may also be darker in the center or appear bluish with a clear center. In contrast with stage 1 rashes, stage 2 skin lesions are not likely to grow as the disease progresses.
Stage 3 Lyme disease does not often encompass rashes however, if skin changes do occur, they will typically appear on the hands and feet. Symptoms of skin changes in stage 3 Lyme disease can include pain, redness, and swelling. If the infection is severe, stage 3 will present with some skin symptoms such as:
- Hardening, thinning, or tearing of the skin
- Hair loss around the affected area
- Sweat gland loss
In very rare cases, lymphoma tumors may form on the skin.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Since Lyme disease can take different forms, and since its often confused with other conditions, its important to be proactive if you suspect the condition. What signs prompt medical help? Call the healthcare provider if:
- You have a bullseye rashor any kind of rashfollowing a tick bite.
- You experience flu-like symptoms after a tick bite.
- You experience symptoms of more advanced Lyme disease: arthritis, heart palpitations, facial paralysis, dizziness, and others.
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Signs Of Lyme Disease That Appear On Your Skin
Signs of Lyme disease
If you see a rash or another sign of Lyme disease on your skin, see your primary doctor right away. When caught early and treated, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics and most people recover fully.
Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a black-legged tick. If you are bitten by this tick and develop Lyme disease, you may see a bulls-eye rash. Its a common sign of Lyme disease, but its not the only sign.
Lyme disease occurs in stages. Heres what you may see on your skin during each stage.
Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can help protect your family from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure to:
- Stay in the middle of the trail, instead of going through high grass or the woods.
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.
- Use an insect repellent.
- Consider treating clothing and gear with permethrin to repel ticks. When used properly, permethrin is safe for all ages. But don’t use it on clothing or other material a child may suck on or chew.
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Shower and wash hair after being outside to remove ticks before they attach.
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Early Localized Lyme Disease
Early localized disease, the initial manifestation, begins between three and 30 days after a bite. It is characterized by:
- Bullseye rash and swelling,the most notorious symptom, occurs in 70% to 80% of cases. Clinically referred to as erythema migrans, its appearance variesit can be a different color or shapeespecially in people of color. It arises about a week after exposure to the bacteria.
- Other symptoms of the first stage include fever, fatigue, headache, and joint pain. Very often, those with the conditionespecially if there is no rashfeel as if theyre experiencing the flu.
Early And Late Aca Rashes
Cutaneous rashes have an interconnecting link to clinical manifestations. ACA has three phases: an early inflammatory stage, a late inflammatory stage with atrophy, and a final latent atrophic stage without inflammation . Often the early stage is overlooked in the scientific literature. The early inflammatory phase is exhibited by Case 1 . Although there is no skin biopsy from the back of the knee , there is substantive evidence of effusion of blood incorporated in the cutaneous tissue surrounding the tick bite. As previously stated, Case 1 tested positive for B. afzelii. Pathologically, B. afzelii is one of the etiological agents of ACA rashes . Pertinent to Case 1, the initial stage of an ACA is visible, and shows the dissemination of spirochetes radiating from the punctum. An ACA rash gradually intensified its purplish color, and then decreased in intensity. These eruptions are consistent with the early stages of an evolving ACA lesion. Moreover, the right knee of Case 1 has no discoloration, and it had exactly the same amount of exercise as the left knee the photographic pattern and presence or lack of pain are not bilateral. It is most likely that the effusion and purplish lesion in Case 1 resulted from spirochetosis, and not exercise.
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Can You Die From Lyme Disease
If not treated, Lyme disease can sometimes be fatal. Death records collected by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. found that during a four year period from 1999 to 2003, 114 records listed Lyme disease as a cause of death. Left untreated, Lyme disease eventually spreads to the brain, heart, and joints where it can do a lot of damage.If its not promptly and aggressively treated, it may become chronic or may cause death later on.
Borrelia burgdorfi bacteria are not the only bacteria that ticks carry. Co-infections by other bacteria are often missed, such as Bartonella, Babesiosis, Mycoplasma fermentans, and Ehrlichiosis can also be transmitted. They can also be dangerous with their own set of symptoms, and people must be tested for them during the Lyme treatment. Co-infections can exacerbate Lyme disease or induce similar disease manifestations making the condition worse.
How can you die from Lyme disease? Possibly as Lyme bacteria are particularly difficult to kill, and in many cases the use of antibiotics only temporarily suppresses them. They prefer to travel in tissue because of their corkscrew shape, and theyre clever enough to conceal themselves by entering healthy cells, where they remain unnoticed by the immune system. As soon as the bacteria enter the blood stream, they quickly enter the central nervous system where they cause the most harm.