Seek Medical Care Early To Prevent Lyme Disease From Progressing
Its easy to get bit by a tick and not know it. Most people dont feel a tick on their skin or the bite. Checking your skin for ticks after spending time outdoors can help you find a tick and remove it.
Removing a tick can prevent Lyme disease. A tick must be attached to your skin for at least 36 hours to infect you with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
Its not always possible to find a tick, so its important to pay close attention to your skin. If you notice any signs of Lyme disease or develop a rash, get medical care right away. Ticks can cause other serious diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Related AAD resources
ImagesImage 1: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Image Library, Last accessed May 11, 2017.
Images 2, 3, and 7: Used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 64:619-36.
Image 6: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
ReferencesBhate C and Schwartz RA.
Lyme disease: Part I. Advances and perspectives. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 64:619-36.
Lyme disease: Part II. Management and prevention. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 64:639-53.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Signs and symptoms of untreated Lyme disease. Page last updated October 26, 2016. Last accessed May 2, 2018.
Lyme disease: transmission. Page lasted updated March 4, 2015. Last accessed May 2, 2018.
Bartonella False Positives Are Common
In chronic Lyme pseudoscience groups, patients are often misled into believing they have multiple fake diagnoses, not just chronic Lyme. Quite commonly, patients desperate for an explanation to their symptoms receive false diagnoses of chronic Bartonella.
Bartonella is a genus of bacteria, and the most common species transmitted to humans in North America is called Bartonella henselae. As discussed in more detail below, Bartonella henselae causes cat-scratch disease, which clears up on its own in most cases and results in lifelong immunity.
The CDC debunks some common myths about Bartonella:
- To date, no study in the United States has shown that Bartonella can be transmitted to humans by ticks.
- Unfortunately there is a great deal of misinformation regarding multiple tickborne infections on the internet. The possibility of having several tickborne infections at once or having pathogens such as Bartonella that have not been shown to be tickborne, is extremely unlikely.
Since Lyme bacteria is only spread by black legged ticks and Bartonella is not a known tick-borne infection in the United States, Bartonella is not a coinfection of Lyme disease.
Bartonella is also not a coinfection of Babesia, an infection that is spread by the same tick as Lyme disease in the northeast United States.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. In most cases, people bitten by a tick are given antibiotics only if they are sick or have a rash. If you are bitten by a tick but dont get sick or get a rash, you dont need antibiotics.
Early-stage Lyme disease responds very well to treatment. In most cases, taking an antibiotic for 2 to 4 weeks kills the bacteria and clears up the infection. Your doctor will tell you how long to take the antibiotic. Its important to take all the medicine your doctor prescribes. This will prevent the spread of Lyme disease to your joints, nervous system, or heart. If you have problems with the medicine, do not quit taking it. Call your doctor and talk to him or her about your side effects.
Late-stage Lyme disease is also treated with antibiotics. It may be necessary to give the antibiotics intravenously at this stage. Medicine that reduces swelling and pain can ease arthritis associated with late-stage Lyme disease. If necessary, excess fluid can be drained from any affected joints.
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Which Tick Prevention Product Works Best To Prevent Lymes Disease
The fastest tick preventatives which are in the isoxazoline family have the fastest tick tickle. Furalaner in Nexgard killed 90% of ticks by 4 hours of attachment and 98% by 8 hours. Fipronil products in comparison take about 24 hours to kill ticks . This is why the isoxazoline class of tick preventatives are now favored. The chance of tick borne illness decreases dramatically if you can remove the tick quickly . Although Lyme transmission irequires 36-48 hours of tick attachment, there are some other tick borne illnesses that can be transferred after only a few hours.
What Do I Do If I Find A Tick On My Skin
Dont panic. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible. Pull up with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick body. Sometimes parts of the tick remain in the skin. You can leave them alone or carefully remove them the same way you would a splinter. Do not use heat , petroleum jelly, or other methods to try to make the tick back out on its own. These methods are not effective.
Wash the area where the tick was attached thoroughly with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area for a few weeks and note any changes. Call your doctor if you develop a rash around the area where the tick was attached. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened.
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Dermatologists Reassure The Public
Upon discovery, stretch marks can seem concerning to parents and teenagers. Fortunately, scientists in the Department of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins University studied the issue in 2018 by reviewing cases of stretch marks of teenage boys, specifically in the lower back.
Regarding the studied stretch marks, the scientists found:
- Stretch marks have nothing to do with bacterial infection, including Bartonella or Lyme disease.
- Stretch marks are associated with rapid growth spurt, tall stature, and family history of stretch marks.
- Stretch marks are not related to chronic medical conditions or anabolic steroid use.
- Further medical testing is unnecessary.
- Unsubstantiated information spread by Lyme-oriented web sites may cause unnecessary concerns from parents.
The American Academy of Dermatology has more information on why stretch marks appear and how to get rid of them.
Areas Of The Country Where Lyme Disease Is Highest
The total rate of Lyme disease found in dogs varies a lot depending on the state. A 2017 seroprevalence table showed the highest seroprevalence in dogs in Connecticut who had a 16.34% rate of positivity, the lowest states were under 1% positivity . The Companion Animal Parasite Council has a parasite prevalence map.
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How To Prevent Post
While you may not be able to prevent post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, you can take precautions to prevent coming into direct contact with infected ticks. The following practices can reduce your likelihood of getting Lyme disease and developing persistent symptoms.
If a tick bites you, contact your doctor. You should be observed for 30 days for signs of Lyme disease. You should also learn the signs of early Lyme disease and seek prompt treatment if you think youre infected. Early antibiotic intervention may reduce your risk of developing chronic symptoms.
The signs of early Lyme disease can occur from 3 to 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. Look for:
- a red, expanding bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite
Living With Lyme Disease
Most people treated in the early stages of Lyme disease make a quick and complete recovery. Some may experience symptoms for a few weeks after treatment. If you were treated for Lyme disease but you still dont feel well, call your family doctor. He or she can make sure there isnt something else wrong. They can help you find ways to ease your symptoms. Some patients have found relief with treatments typically used for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
Other things you can do to help manage Lyme disease include:
- Educate yourself.There is a lot of inaccurate information to be sorted through, especially on the internet. Ask your doctor if you have questions.
- Track your symptoms.Keep a diary of your sleep patterns, eating habits, exercise routines, and how youre feeling. You or your doctor may be able to make connections between them.
- Take care of yourself.Eat a healthy diet. Exercise as regularly as you can. Get plenty of rest.
Find support. It can be hard to not feel well and not know why. Some people may think your symptoms arent real. Talk to friends and family. If they cant offer support, talk with a counselor who can help you.
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How Is Lyme Disease Spread
Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected black-legged tick. The tick usually must be attached to a person for at least 24 hours before it can spread the germ. Black-legged ticks in Massachusetts can also carry the germs that cause babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis). These ticks are capable of spreading more than one type of germ in a single bite.
Blacklegged Tick Which Transmits Lyme Disease
The CDC shows an image of relative sizes of the various tick stages compared to a dime.
The nymphal ticks feed the most in Spring and Summer months. They are difficult to see as they are less than 2 mm in size. The larvae do not feed on hosts until they have developed into a nymph.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection with a bacterium called Borrelia transmitted by the bite of a tick. There are at least 52 different Borrelia strains. Some are more commonly detected in dogs, and some are more commonly detected in people.
Ticks can acquire the bacteria by feeding on reservoir hosts, most commonly mice, squirrels, birds and shrews.
In the most lyme endemic areas, as many as 50% of ticks will carry the Lyme bacteria.
A lot of tick bites occur in the warmer months due to increased outdoor recreation by people and their companion animals. Ticks have increased questing behavior to find a blood meal during the warmer months. However, adult ticks can still be very active in fall and winter as well .
Lymes infected ticks have spread across the US primarily because bird migration has allowed Borrelia-infected ticks to establish a new area.
It takes 36 to 48 hours of tick attachment before the tick can transmit Lyme to its host. Other tick borne infections are transmitted more quickly. Frontline takes 24 hours to kill an attached tick. In contrast, the newer tick preventatives in the Isoxazoline class kill ticks only 4 hours after attachment.
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Does Lyme Disease Show Up In Regular Blood Work
You do not usually need tests to show that you have Lyme disease. In most cases, theres a clear sign of Lyme diseasea painless, spreading rash that often grows to look like a bulls eye. If you have this rash, and you recently had a tick bite or were in an area known for Lyme disease, you dont need a test.
Chronic Lyme Disease Can Make Patients Profoundly Debilitated
- Some individuals with Lyme disease do not trust the COVID-19 vaccine. They are not alone. As the author points out, a December poll by the Pew Research Center reported that 71% of Black respondents knew someone who had been hospitalized or died from Covid-19, yet fewer than 50% of Black Americans polled would get the vaccine. Many of them fear that the vaccines aimed at stopping the spread.
- Lyme disease is an infection that is spread to humans through the bite of deer ticks carrying a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi.In 2012, there were nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in.
- Can Lyme disease go away by itself? Some people are found to have Lyme disease antibodies, without recalling ever having been ill with Lyme disease. When an illness goes away by itself after a while, like a cold or influenza, it is called a self-limiting illness
- Historically, about 60 percent of people with undiagnosed, untreated Lyme disease would develop Lyme arthritis, according to a study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology. Lyme arthritis, however, shouldn’t be confused with chronic Lyme. As its name implies, chronic Lyme is a condition that doesn’t go away with one course of antibiotics
- Living with Lyme disease or other chronic illness has its own challenges, but when depression and anxiety come into play, it’s even more difficult. No treatment or management plan is a one-size-fits-all and often, the best results are found when a series of changes work together
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
There’s no sure way to avoid getting Lyme disease. But you can minimize your risk. Be aware of ticks when you’re in high-risk areas. If you work outdoors or spend time gardening, fishing, hunting, or camping, take precautions:
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
- Use an insect repellent containing 10% to 30% DEET .
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Keep long hair pulled back or wear a hat for protection.
- Don’t sit on the ground outside.
- Check yourself for ticks regularly both indoors and outdoors. Wash your clothes and hair after leaving tick-infested areas.
If you use an insect repellent containing DEET, follow the directions on the product’s label and don’t overapply it. Place DEET on shirt collars and sleeves and pant cuffs, and only use it directly on exposed areas of skin. Be sure to wash it off when you go back indoors.
No vaccine for Lyme disease is currently on the market in the United States.
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.
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Is Lyme Disease Curable Health
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.
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What Is Real Bartonella
Several Bartonella species are known to infect humans. Bartonella henselae causes cat-scratch disease because the bacteria is transmitted to humans from a scratch of a cat.
As stated above, cat-scratch disease often causes enlarged lymph nodes , typically in the underarm, head/neck, or groin. This is photo of a 5-year old child with lymph node growth in the underarm due to cat-scratch disease:
Lymph node growth occurs in many different conditions, so this symptom alone cannot be used to diagnose cat-scratch disease.
The human body louse transmits Bartonella quintana to humans, causing Trench fever. The National Organization for Rare Disorders states that Trench fever is commonly found in homeless, alcoholic, and poverty-stricken populations where poor sanitation and poor hygiene often occurs.