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.
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.
Untreated Lyme Disease Frequency
Its difficult to get exact numbers when it comes to Lyme disease, in part because theres only limited accounting of the conditions frequency overall, and its often misdiagnosed or mistaken for other conditions.
Currently, its estimated that 476,000 people develop it in the United States every year, with 81% of the cases clustered in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and mid-Atlantic regions.
A significantbut shrinkingproportion of those with the disease end up progressing without treatment. Current estimates are hard to come by. In 2012, researchers estimated that about 16% of Lyme disease cases present without rashincreasing the chance that the case is missed, overall. From 1.6% to 7% of all infections have no symptoms.
Knowledge and awareness of this disease have grown over the past couple of decades, greatly improving outcomes. This improving prognosis is associated with better care and detection, leading to timelier intervention.
If you live in a hot spot area for black-legged ticks, never hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional if youre feeling sick or have a rash.
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When To Call A Doctor
- A tick is attached to your body and you can’t remove the entire tick.
- You have a circular red rash that expands over the course of several days, especially if you know you were recently exposed to ticks. You may also have flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, stiff neck, fever, chills, or body aches.
- You feel very tired or have joint pain , irregular heartbeats, severe headache, or neck pain.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding and you think you may have been exposed to ticks.
How Do I Know If I Have A Tick Bite
Many people who develop the disease do not remember seeing ticks or being bitten. Tick bites commonly occur from May to September in North America, although blacklegged ticks can be active most of the year. Ticks sometimes move around on the body but they usually attach themselves to the skin and stay in one place. Before feeding, ticks look like small, brown scabs or freckles. After feeding, ticks may swell considerably, and could be as big as a raisin or a small grape.
Follow the link for more information about blacklegged ticks from the Government of Canada.
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How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
My Own Unsolved Mystery
I love to problem solve. But this is one problem I cant figure out. It seems no one can figure it out.
What do you do if you have Late Stage Lyme Disease?
I get asked this question ALL THE TIME and youd think Id have some great answer after all these yearsbut I fall short every time. When someone asks, I want to hand them the secret formula for successbut I just dont have it.
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Pregnancy And Lyme Disease
If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your doctor immediately. Untreated Lyme disease during pregnancy can lead to infection of the placenta. Although spread from mother to fetus is rare, it is possible. Fortunately, with appropriate antibiotic treatment, there is no increased risk of adverse birth outcomes.
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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Chronic Lyme Disease Symptom Severity
In LDos chronic Lyme disease survey, over 75% of patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe and 63% reported two or more such symptoms. Find out more about LDo peer-reviewed published surveys. The chart below shows the severity of ten common chronic Lyme symptoms.
The survey also found that patients with chronic Lyme disease have high disability and unemployment rates. Over 40% of patients with chronic Lyme disease reported that they currently are unable to work because of Lyme disease and 24% report that they have received disability at some point in their illness.
Living With Lyme Disease
Once antibiotics resolve the infection, you can support your recovery from Lyme disease as you would with any kind of arthritis or nerve injury. It is recommended that you:
- Eata healthy diet and limit your sugar intake.
- Getplenty of rest.
- Exerciseat least three times a week for at least 30 minutes each day.
- Useanti-inflammatory medication when necessary.
The damageLyme disease causes to your nerves or muscles would heal over a course ofmonths, Dr. Sullivan says. Identifying the infection and treating itappropriately so that the infection is cleared is the first step. And then thebody can start to heal.
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Touched By Lyme: How Can You Live With Yourselves Idsa
Examining the huge disconnect between actual Lyme patients and those who set medical policy.
Saturday, I spent a beautiful Sacramento afternoon with about 75 people at the first of the 2011 CALDA Lymewalks. We had a real cross section of Lyme patients and their support people. Some had been battling Lyme for years. Others were new to the fight. Some have recovered their health. Others, not so much.
Here are a few of the people who were there:
A young mother and her two children, all recently diagnosed with Lyme, having a hard time with treatment. They brought their support posse with them: the husband/dad, four grandparents, and family friends, all eager to learn more about how they can help their loved ones.
A twenty-eight year old father of two, now in a wheelchair, who caught Lyme seven years ago while serving our country in the US Army.
A mom with Lyme, her daughter with Lyme-induced autism, and family members.
The husband of a woman with profound neurological Lyme. After caring for her for many years, he has recently been diagnosed with Lyme himself.
There were children and teenagers and adults of all ages. People who have had Lyme since birth or childhood, others recently infected. People with wheelchairs or canes. People who used to need wheelchairs or canes, and now can run or bike many miles a day. Some had supportive families, others were totally on their own.
Two more questions, IDSA:
How To Avoid Getting A Tick Bite
You might be at risk if you live, work in, or visit a wooded area, or an area with tall grasses and bushes .
You may also be at risk if you are involved in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and gardening.
You may be bitten by a tick and not even know it.
Heres what you can do to avoid getting a tick bite.
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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
Can Lyme Disease Be Treated
In most cases, yes. Antibiotics can effectively treat Lyme disease, especially when treatment begins early. Cases that reach the later stages of the disease, however, can be difficult to treat and some symptoms can persist.
PHAC reports that removing the tick within 24-36 hours usually prevents infection.
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Lyme Disease Infection Timeline
Infection time: 24 to 36 HoursIn order to be infected by a tick bite, a tick must be attached for at least 24 hours. If you think thats a long time to not even know you have a tick on you, think again. Nymph ticks are so tiny, they often go unnoticed. Thats why they are the biggest spreaders of Lyme infection. Its easy for a person or a pet to have a tick attached for 24 to 36 hours unnoticed. Some people never know they had a tick attached at all!
Early symptoms begin to show: Within 30 DaysIf a person shows early symptoms of Lyme, it usually occurs within 30 days after infection. The problem is, many never show symptoms, or overlook their symptoms. People, who work outdoors, or spend lots of recreational time outdoors, should be mindful of potential early onset Lyme disease symptoms. Fever, fatigue, and body aches are among the most common symptoms, as well as a bulls eye rash around the tick bite. If symptoms do not occur within 30 days, they can be more severe. Early Lyme disease can be cured with doxycycline. The length of treatment will depend on whether the infection is localized or has begun to spread through the body.
See more tick and Lyme disease questions and answers:
Treatments I Have Tried
Im sure theres more that Ive overlooked, but the point is, Ive tried it all. Ive seen at least 20 doctors or specialists , and had more testing than I care to remember.
I know which treatments produced awful results for me, and I know which ones seemed to soothe my symptoms, but the thing isI also know people who reacted in the complete opposite way!
Every case is different. Some struggle with neuropathy, others with mental disorders. Lyme can attack a different area in each person. You may have heart, adrenal, or neurological issues depending on your case.
Co-infections are common, and complicate things even further.
Im slowly learning what my body needs and I can confidently say my flareups are much simpler to handle than they used to be.
I wish I had your formula, but I dont. Instead I have some advice that I think can help anyone dealing with this disease to press forward and see a glimpse of hope.
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Can Dogs Live With Lyme Disease
In the past, it may have been difficult for dogs to survive Lyme disease due to the inability to diagnose the disease.
If your dog does contract Lyme disease, however, they are likely to exhibit the symptoms listed above.
These symptoms are caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium in the bite of an infected tick.
Can I Live A Normal Life With Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by ticks where the bacteria enter the body through its bite. It takes about three to four days for the tick to settle in the body. The initial symptom of the bite is a rash. As the bacteria moves deeper into the system, the symptoms that can be experienced are muscle pain, joint pains, headache, and fatigue. Diagnosing the disease is difficult as the tests carried out reveal the antibodies present in the body even if the infection is not active. Thus, having a clear diagnosis is tough. After a diagnosis, most patients are treated with antibiotics but the process is time-consuming.
Have a question about
Lyme disease is one of the most poorly understood diseases of our time. Its complexity extends even to the medical community. Most cases are reported during the warmer seasons of spring and summer when the nymph ticks are most active. For many people, the real worry lies in whether or not patients can lead a normal life with Lyme disease. However, it still depends on a number of things.
Of course, the important considerations are what level of the disease the patient is at and what an individual considers leading a normal life is. People afflicted with Lyme disease can live a normal life that is plagued by some nettles but rarely serious problems.
Here are some aspects of life that people with Lyme disease worry about:
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Could You Have Lyme Disease And Not Even Know It
The scary truth about this sneaky illness.
After you get home from a glorious summer hike, you probably do a few things: post photos of the great outdoors to Instagram, take a quick shower, and chow down on some post-workout snacks. But if checking yourself for ticks isn’t a part of that routine, you might be leaving yourself open to Lyme disease. “It happens frequently that people have Lyme disease and don’t know it,” says Andrea Gaito, M.D., a rheumatologist with a private practice in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by tick bites, especially those from deer ticks. Approximately 70 percent of deer ticks are infected, says Gaito. And those of you in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania should be on high-alert: Your states have the highest rates of Lyme disease, which is much more manageable when caught early on, says Gaito.
It sounds pretty scary, but there are ways to figure out if you’ve got Lyme disease before it really has its hooks in youor even prevent it in the first place. Here’s what to look out for.
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How We Care For Lyme Disease
The Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s provides comprehensive care for children and adolescents with Lyme disease and other infections. Our services include consultation, evaluation, treatment, and management of long-term complications of Lyme disease.
The commitment and compassion with which we care for all children and families is matched only by the pioneering spirit of discovery and innovation that drives us to think differently, to find answers, and to build a better tomorrow for children everywhere.
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What Tests Are Available For Lyme Disease
When a person becomes infected, the body creates antibodies to protect itself from the bacteria. Certain blood tests are available to measure these antibodies. However, sometimes a “false negative” test can result if there are not enough antibodies in the blood for the tests to detect accurately. A doctor should also do a complete medical examination and gather information about your recent outdoor activities in order to make a clinical diagnosis for Lyme disease.