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.
What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease
Most of the people who get Lyme disease and receive treatment early will be fine. Treatment can cure Lyme disease but you might still have some long-term effects. Untreated Lyme disease may contribute to other serious problems but its rarely fatal.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
Even after proper treatment, some people may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. The symptoms dont mean that you still have an infection. PTLDS probably wont respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms that resolve at some point over the next six months.
Chronic Lyme disease
Chronic Lyme disease is a term used by some for a condition in a person who had Lyme disease and the symptoms of PTLDS. Some people consider chronic Lyme disease to be the same as PTLDS. However, some people receive a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis without a Lyme disease diagnosis. Sometimes, extended treatment with antibiotics helps.
This term may be why some people think a Lyme disease infection can occur without being bitten by a tick. There isn’t enough proof that mosquitoes can transmit Lyme disease. Many researchers dislike using the term chronic Lyme disease.
Thereof Can A Tick Bite Cause An Itchy Rash
Some people may have an allergic reaction to a tick bite. This reaction may be mild, with symptoms like itching and swelling. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction may occur. Most of the time, all you need to do for a tick bite is relieve any symptoms you may have.
A person may experience multiple rashes
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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.
Images 4 and 5: Getty Images
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.
When Should I Call My Doctor
- Canât get the tick totally out
- Have any flu-like symptoms, with or without a rash
- See red streaks, or yellow fluid oozing from the bite, meaning the bite is infected
Some people have more serious reactions to the bite itself. Go to the emergency room if you have:
- Anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening reaction that needs medical care right away.
- Tick paralysis. If you have this, you will be unable to move. Paralysis usually goes away within 24 hours of removing the tick.
- You canât move your arms, legs, or part of your face.
- Itâs hard to breathe.
- Your heart feels like itâs fluttering, skipping beats, or beating too hard or too fast.
- You have a severe headache.
- You feel weakness in your arms or legs.
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Symptoms Of A Tick Bite
- A tick bite does not cause pain. It may or may not itch. So, ticks may not be noticed for a few days.
- After feeding on blood, ticks get swollen and easier to see.
- Ticks fall off on their own after sucking blood for 3 to 6 days.
- After the tick comes off, a little red bump may be seen.
- The red bump or spot is the body’s response to the tick’s saliva .
- While it’s sucking blood, some of its spit gets mixed in.
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 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.
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What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:
Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease
Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
Frequent Tick Bites Cause Itchiness
The more often you are bit by ticks, the more likely they are to itch. This is caused by a person’s immune system beginning to recognize the proteins in the saliva. Then, your immune system will recognize a foreign invader and send a response. This can cause inflammation, redness, and itchiness at the site.
One study has found that after four tick bites, the chance of itchiness increases by 97%.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Your doctor will examine you and ask you if youve been in an area where you may have been bitten by a tick before making a diagnosis.
You may have a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.
Where Are Ticks Found
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.
They 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.
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Patients Own Descriptions Of Symptoms
One day, after I had been ill for about a month, I got into my car and realised I had forgotten how to drive. I sat puzzling over the pedals and controls, but I couldnt even remember how to start the engine. Id had my driving license for fifteen years, and I just felt so ashamed.
I used to get strangers coming up to me every time I left the house. They asked me personal questions and they knew everything about my family and my life, but I had no idea who they were. I couldnt recognise anyones face except my own family. It went on for months and I found it so upsetting I just didnt want to leave the house any more. I lost so many friends because I literally lost all memory of them.
I forgot how to read. I love reading but I couldnt even remember the alphabet. Eventually I could read again after nearly a year.
One day I got lost while I was driving my son to his nursery. It was the pre-school Id been taking him to for over two years. So my four-year-old had to tell me how to get there, but on the way back home I got so lost I just pulled the car over and cried for half an hour. I was terrified.
I keep losing words. Ill be in the middle of a sentence, and stop dead because my brain cant find some everyday word like shoes or microwave. It gets dead annoying.
I always suffered from migraines and when I caught Lyme disease, I got a headache as bad as a migraine which lasted me 6 months.
What Is Stage 3 Lyme Disease
Late Persistent Lyme Disease
Its the most severe stage and can occur months to years following the initial infection. Damage to the joints, nerves, and brain is possible if not treated. Muscle and joint pain is the most common complaint of those in late-stage Lyme disease, affecting 80% of untreated people.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can affect different body systems, such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. The symptoms of Lyme disease are often described as happening in three stages. Not everyone with Lyme has all of these, though:
The rash sometimes has a “bull’s-eye” appearance, with a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It also can appear as an growing ring of solid redness. It’s usually flat and painless, but sometimes can be warm to the touch, itchy, scaly, burning, or prickling. The rash may look and feel very different from one person to the next. It can be harder to see on people with darker skin tones, where it can look like a bruise. It gets bigger for a few days to weeks, then goes away on its own. A person also may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headache, and muscle aches.
How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
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What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.
The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.
If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.
Online Lyme Disease Questionnaire
It is not a definitive diagnostic tool, but it can help to indicate how likely it is that you may be suffering from Lyme disease or a other tick borne illness.
Its free to get the results and takes about 10 minutes to fill in.
For those who think they may be suffering from a long term, chronic Lyme infection, this can be useful food for thought.
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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.
What Are The Treatments For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better it gives you the best chance of fully recovering quickly.
After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts more than 6 months. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Researchers don’t know why some people have PTLDS. There is no proven treatment for PTLDS long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS. If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel unwell, contact your health care provider about how to manage your symptoms. Most people do get better with time. But it can take several months before you feel all better.
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What Are The Symptoms
The main feature of Lyme arthritis is obvious swelling of one or a few joints. While the knees are affected most often, other large joints such as the shoulder, ankle, elbow, jaw, wrist, and hip can also be involved. The joint may feel warm to the touch or cause pain during movement. Joint swelling can come and go or move between joints, and it may be difficult to detect in the shoulder, hip, or jaw. Lyme arthritis typically develops within one to a few months after infection.
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.
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Study Site And Sampling Procedures
Block Island is located 15 km from the New England mainland, and Lyme disease is highly endemic there. Beginning in 1991, we invited all residents to participate in a serosurvey twice yearly . We sought to identify all cases of infection due to B. burgdorferi among serosurvey participants with the help of the staff of the Block Island Medical Center, the sole medical facility on the island, and by a dedicated research nurse . Borrelial infections were identified among members of the study cohort who visited the medical center for an acute tickborne illness or who seroconverted against borrelial antigen during the study period. Written informed consent was obtained from all adult study participants and from the parents or legal guardians of minors, in accordance with human experimentation guidelines approved by the institutional review boards at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and the Harvard School of Public Health.
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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