What If Lyme Disease Goes Untreated
If Lyme disease goes untreated, it can affect other systems in the body. According to the , common symptoms of later stage Lyme disease include:
- severe headaches and neck stiffness
- additional erythema migrans rashes on other areas of the body
- facial palsy, which is a loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face
- arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly in the knees and other large joints
- intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
- episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- nerve pain
- shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
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.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
It can be hard for doctors to diagnose Lyme disease because:
- The tick bites and rash might not be noticed.
- Many early symptoms seem like the flu or other illnesses.
- Blood tests are not always accurate, especially early in the illness.
Doctors can diagnose early Lyme disease if they see a tick bite and rash. Blood tests usually aren’t helpful in the first month of Lyme disease.
To diagnose late Lyme disease, doctors:
- Ask about symptoms.
- Do blood tests that look for signs of Lyme disease.
Depending on the symptoms, doctors might order other tests, such as a spinal tap, which looks at the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.
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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.
What Do You Do If There’s A Tick Under Your Skin
Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick are still in your skin, try to get those with the tweezers, too. After everything is out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
You probably wonât get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.
How do you throw away a tick?
Put it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Sexually Transmitted
First of all, if you have been treated for Lyme disease, even if your Western blot is positive, it is very unlikely that there are any spirochetes still circulating in your bodily fluids. Second, there is no good documentation that Lyme disease can be contracted by sexual contact. Given the number of cases of Lyme disease that have been diagnosed over the last 20 years and the fact that there are have been instances where people with active infection are having sexual intercourse but have not yet been treated, one would expect there to be many well documented cases of suspect partner to partner transmission this is not the case. Therefore, for all these reasons, it is highly unlikely that a person could acquire Lyme disease through unprotected intercourse or other sexual contact.
How Does Someone Get More Than One Tickborne Illness At Once
The same tick could carry several diseases at once, explains infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The black-legged tick, for example, can transmit Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis and the same tick can infect the same person, Dr. Adalja says.
Even though thats possible, its still rare. Its relatively uncommon for a tick to have all three diseases, says Thomas Russo, M.D., professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. Its more common for a tick to have two out of three, and most common for a tick to have one.
Its also possible for you to be bitten by several ticks and not realize it. Tick bites are often unnoticed, Dr. Schaffner says. A person can have more than one bite and get a co-infection that way.
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How Do I Know Whether I Have Received A Sufficiently Long Course Of Antibiotic Therapy
Taken together, these study results suggest that repeated antibiotic therapy may be beneficial for a subgroup of patients. However all of these studies also reported troubling adverse effects associated with the IV antibiotic therapy. Given these potentially dangerous risks, it is clear that other safer and more durable treatments are needed for patients with persistent symptoms.
Symptoms Appear 3 To 32 Days After A Tick Bite
Most people with Lyme disease will get a rash called erythema migrans where they were bitten. The rash starts as a small red round area, which usually expands to two or more inches across. The center of the rash may clear giving a bulls eye appearance. Other symptoms are fever, headache, tiredness, stiff neck, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. Without treatment, the heart, nervous system, or joints may be affected weeks to years later the rash may also spread to other parts of the body.
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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. Instead, your doctor can just start treating you with antibiotics, as appropriate.
Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease isn’t promptly or effectively treated during the initial two stages, late disseminated Lyme disease, also known as chronic Lyme disease and post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, can occur weeks, months, and even years after the tick bite. At this point, the infection has spread through the body, and many patients develop chronic arthritis in addition to an increase in neurological and cardiac issues and symptoms.
Chronic Lyme disease symptoms may include arthritis in joints or at the bite site severe headaches or migraines vertigo and dizziness migrating pains that appear and disappear in the joints and tendons stiff, aching neck sleep problems insomnia heart-rhythm disturbances focus and concentration issues numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet problems speaking, carrying conversation, and processing information and severe fatigue, among other symptoms.
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When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
Experiencing the symptoms of mono can be difficult to deal with. This is especially true if the virus has reactivated. If you are ill with the symptoms of mono and have previously had the infection, its best to call your healthcare provider right away to get a proper diagnosis. Since it is highly unlikely that the infection occurs twice, its likely that your symptoms are caused by something else.
If you have a recurrent infection, getting enough rest, fluids, and symptom relief is the best way to cope with the symptoms. Keeping your healthcare provider up-to-date on the progression of the illness will help them provide you with the best medical advice.
The Blood Tests Can Have False Positives
The blood tests can trigger false positives, suggesting that you have the disease when you really dont. This can happen in up to one out of four tests.
This can lead to unnecessary treatment with antibiotics. These drugs are usually safe, but they sometimes cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. In rare cases, they can even cause dangerous allergic reactions.
Using too many antibiotics can also lead to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. This means that bacteria in your body may get stronger and more difficult to treat with antibiotics in the future.
A false positive can also lead to more unneeded blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, and doctor visits.
If you have a false positive, you may not get treated for the real cause of your pain. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes joint pain. It can lead to permanent and severe joint damage if you do not start taking the right medicines as early as possible.
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When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme
The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.
If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.
Is There A Cure Or A Drug Prescribed For People Who Have Not Had Lyme Disease But Are Suffering From The Lymerix Vaccination
The issue of adverse events from the LYMErix vaccine has been under active investigation. If you are suffering from neuropathic pains or arthritic problems after the vaccine, you might consider contacting the Lyme Disease Association for a referral to a physician with a particular clinical and research interest in this question.
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Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.
How To Prevent Lyme Disease
Currently, a Lyme disease vaccine is not available, though there are other steps you may take to reduce your risk of contracting Lyme disease. Consider the following tips for Lyme disease prevention and precaution to decrease your risk of getting the disease.
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Can Lyme Disease Come Back In Dogs
One tick bite can change your pet’s life forever. As carriers of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, these tiny arachnids can spread Lyme disease to canines and people alike. While canine infections usually are resolved with simple medical treatment, there still is a possibility of a resurgent infection in your pet.
Does Lyme Disease Go Away On Its Own
Its certainly possible for people to get Lyme disease and to clear the infection on their own, without treatment, says Dr. Kuritzkes. But its better to be treated, because some of the complicationslike arthritis and myocarditis and damage to the central nervous systemcan be very serious.
The type of bacteria that causes Lyme disease is in the same general family as the type that causes syphilis, Dr. Kuritzkes explains. That doesnt mean anything similar in terms of transmission, but syphilis has several different phases, with primary and secondary and tertiary symptoms, he says. The infection can hide out in the body for a long time and can cause problems down the road if its not treated.
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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.
How Will You Know If Its Lyme
Class signs of Lyme disease in a dog include loss of appetite, listlessness, and limping. Sometimes a dog will have what is commonly referred to as shifting leg lameness. A dog will become lame on one leg , and the lameness will resolve on its own, only to show up days or even weeks later on either the same leg or a different limb. The dog may also exhibit a stiff gait or an arched back, and, usually, fever. In rare cases Lyme disease in dogs has been associated with kidney failure a life-threatening complication.
Bear in mind that you might not be thinking about tick bites when signs start to appear. Your dog may have been bitten by a tick in the dead of summer yet not start to feel ill till after Christmas since theres a long lag between infection and signs of sickness. Of course, she may also start to feel sick during the warm-weather months. Ticks can bite at any time of year. Yes, tick season extends from spring through early fall, but all you need is a day or two of weather approaching or exceeding the freezing mark during the dead of winter, and a tick will be able to do its thing. Thus, a tick can bite a dog during ski season in February, but the dog wont start to have any signs until July 4th. Those signs are not from the tick that just bit her.
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Blood Tests And Treatment Are Available See Your Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme Disease
A doctor may treat Lyme disease with antibiotics based on a persons illness and a history of a tick bite or tick exposure. Blood tests done in the early stage of illness can be negative, so early diagnosis is usually based on signs and symptoms. Blood tests are usually positive 3 to 4 weeks after an infected tick bite. The tests may stay negative in people who are treated early with antibiotics. Early treatment should prevent later complications. Antibiotics are also used to treat later stages of Lyme disease.
Where Blacklegged Ticks Live
We continue to track where infected and uninfected blacklegged ticks are being found.
Public Health Ontarios Lyme disease page has a map that shows areas in Ontario where they estimate you are more likely to find blacklegged ticks.
Blacklegged ticks are spreading to new areas of the province because of climate change. They can also spread by traveling on birds and deer. While the probability is low, it is possible to find an infected tick almost anywhere in Ontario.
Ticks are most active in spring and summer, but can be found at any time of the year when the temperature is above freezing.
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