How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease
The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short trees, especially cedar trees. Here they wait until their sensors detect an approaching animal on which to crawl or drop. Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
“Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.”
Key Points To Remember
- Most Lyme disease tests are designed to detect antibodies made by the body in response to infection.
- Antibodies can take several weeks to develop, so patients may test negative if infected only recently.
- Antibodies normally persist in the blood for months or even years after the infection is gone therefore, the test cannot be used to determine cure.
- Infection with other diseases, including some tickborne diseases, or some viral, bacterial, or autoimmune diseases, can result in false positive test results.
- Some tests give results for two types of antibody, IgM and IgG. Positive IgM results should be disregarded if the patient has been ill for more than 30 days.
How To Remove Ticks
Tick bites aren’t always painful. You may not notice a tick unless you see it on your skin. Check your skin and your children’s or pets’ skin after being outdoors.
To remove a tick:
The risk of getting ill is low. You don’t need to do anything else unless you become unwell.
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What Do You Do If You Become Ill
Consult your health care provider right away if you develop symptoms of Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick or if you visited a known at risk area for Lyme disease. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of a successful treatment.
If you saved the tick that bit you, bring it to your medical appointment. Tell your doctor:
- how long you estimate that the tick was attached to you
- where you were when you were bitten by the tick
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.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult as symptoms vary from person to person. Symptoms can also be similar to other illnesses.
A diagnosis of Lyme disease is based on:
- the outcome of laboratory testing
Laboratory testing may be recommended for patients with signs, symptoms and history of exposure to tick bite to support a clinical diagnosis.
Seek your health care provider right away if you develop symptoms of Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick or if you visited a known at risk area for Lyme disease. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of a successful treatment.
How Can You Help Prevent Tick Bites
Taking measures to help prevent tick bites is important year-round, particularly during the warmer months , when ticks are most active. To help prevent tick bites:
- Avoid direct contact with ticks
- Stay out of wooded and brushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter
- Walk in the center of trails when hiking
- Use repellents containing 2030 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing to help repel ticks for several hours. Follow the instructions carefully. Parents should apply the repellent to children.
- Find and remove ticks from your body
- Bathe or shower soon after you come inside, ideally within two hours, to find and remove ticks.
- Do a full-body tick check using a mirror. Dont forget to check your hair.
- Examine your pets and gear for ticks that may have hitchhiked home in your backpack or coat.
- If manufacturer’s instructions allow, tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks effectively. If the clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes should be warm and completely dry.
If you experience symptoms that may indicate Lyme disease, get medical treatment right away to help avoid potentially serious health consequences.
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Treating Lyme Disease While Pregnant
Treatment for pregnant women with Lyme disease is similar to that of non-pregnant adults. However, certain antibiotics, such as doxycycline should not be used as it can affect your unborn child.
Research shows that there are no life-threatening effects on the child when a pregnant woman receives appropriate antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease.
Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
To prevent Lyme disease, you should lower your risk of getting a tick bite:
- Avoid areas where ticks live, such as grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. If you are hiking, walk in the center of the trail to avoid brush and grass.
- Use an insect repellent with DEET
- Treat your clothing and gear with a repellant containing 0.5% permethrin
- Wear light-colored protective clothing, so you can easily see any ticks that get on you
- Wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants. Also tuck your shirt into your pants and your pant legs into your socks.
- Check yourself, your children, and your pets daily for ticks. Carefully remove any ticks you find.
- Take a shower and wash and dry your clothes at high temperatures after being outdoors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Symptoms Of Early Stage Lyme Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , early-stage Lyme disease symptoms crop up within 3 to 30 days after exposure and can include but are not limited to:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans , a bulls-eye-shaped rash that appears at the site of the tick bite
Early Lyme disease does not always appear the same in all patients. For example, up to 30% of patients dont remember experiencing a bulls eye rash.
Consequences Of Not Treating Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is not promptly treated, it leads to a myriad of health issues that take months and even years to heal. Your joints, nerves, heart and brain suffer, all because of an infected tick bite.Why stop yourself from getting treatment?
If caught early on, Lyme disease can easily be controlled and treated. All it takes is some pre-emptive action on your part. So, pay attention to your body. You never know what it may be trying to tell you.
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Early Signs Of Lyme Disease
The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary and usually appear in stages.
Early signs and symptoms
A small, red bump often appears at the site of a tick bite or tickremoval and resolves over a few days. This is normal after a tick bite and doesnot indicate Lyme disease. However, these signs and symptoms may occur within amonth after you’ve been infected:
- Rash. From3 to 30 days after an infected tick bite, an expanding red area might appearthat sometimes clears in the center, forming a bulls-eye pattern. The rash expands slowly over days and can spread to 12 inches across. It is typically not itchy or painful. Erythema migrans isone of the hallmarks of Lyme disease. Some people develop this rash at morethan one place on their bodies.
- Flu-likesymptoms. Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and a headache may accompany therash.
Later signs and symptoms
If untreated, new signs and symptoms of Lyme infection might appear inthe following weeks to months. These include:
- Erythemamigrans appearing in other areas of your body.
- Jointpain. Bouts of severe joint pain and swelling are especially likely to affectyour knees, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.
- Neurologicalproblems. Weeks, months or even years after infection, you might developinflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain , temporaryparalysis of one side of your face , numbness or weakness in yourlimbs, and impaired muscle movement.
- Nausea andvomiting
Less common signs and symptoms
What Is The Treatment
Most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated with 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotics. Depending on the symptoms and when you were diagnosed, you may require a longer course or repeat treatment with antibiotics.
Some people experience symptoms that continue more than 6 months after treatment. Research continues into the causes of these persistent symptoms and possible treatment methods.
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What Are The Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
In early disseminated Lyme disease, which occurs weeks to months after the tick bite, other symptoms may develop, including:
- Additional erythema migrans lesions
- Nerve pain
- Facial or Bell’s palsy, a paralysis or weakness in the muscles on one side of the face
- Lyme carditis, in which Lyme disease bacteria enter the tissues of the heart and interfere with the normal process that coordinates the beating of the heart symptoms include palpitations, chest pain, or shortness of breath.
Late disseminated Lyme disease, which develops months to years after the infection begins, may cause:
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, especially in large joints such as the knees
- Pain in the tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Abnormal muscle movement
- Numbness and tingling in the hands or feet
- Cognitive problems, including issues with speech and short-term memory
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness from meningitis
Treatment For Erythema Migrans
People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help prevent late Lyme disease.
Treatment regimens listed in the following table are for the erythema migrans rash, the most common manifestation of early Lyme disease. These regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a persons age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions.
|100 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, three times per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|4.4 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||100 mg per dose|
|50 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 3 doses||500 mg per dose|
|30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||500 mg per dose|
*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize unnecessary antibiotics that might result in adverse effects, including infectious diarrhea and antimicrobial resistance.
NOTE: For people intolerant of amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime, the macrolide azithromycin may be used, although it is less effective. People treated with azithromycin should be closely monitored to ensure that symptoms resolve.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
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Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .
The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .
Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .
Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.
But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .
Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
Risks For Early Localized Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria and spread through tick bites. This condition can not be passed from person to person. These ticks are found in wooded, rural areas throughout Europe and North America. People who work outside or who spend time in woodland or heaths are most commonly affected.
Although anyone can have this condition, it tends to be slightly more common in children and older adults. It is more common in late spring, early summer and autumn. Lyme disease tends to first cause symptoms in one location, which is called early or localized Lyme disease, and then spreads slowly through the body, which is called disseminated Lyme disease.
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Outlook For Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
If you receive a diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics at this stage, you can expect to be cured of Lyme disease. Without treatment, complications can occur. Treatments are available for the complications.
In rare cases, you may experience a continuation of Lyme disease symptoms after antibiotic treatment. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .
Some people who were treated for Lyme disease report muscle and joint pain, cognitive difficulties, sleep issues, or fatigue after their treatments were finished.
The cause of this is unknown. However, researchers believe it may be due to an autoimmune response in which your immune system attacks healthy tissues. It may also be linked to an ongoing infection with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
The practices below can reduce your likelihood of contracting Lyme disease and having it progress to the early disseminated stage.
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.
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What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. B. burgdorferi is transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick. The tick becomes infected after feeding on infected deer, birds, or mice.
A tick has to be present on the skin for at least 36 hours to transmit the infection. Many people with Lyme disease have no memory of a tick bite.
Lyme disease was first recognized in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. Its the most common tickborne illness in Europe and the United States.
People who live or spend time in wooded areas known for transmission of the disease are more likely to get this illness. People with domesticated animals that visit wooded areas also have a higher risk of getting Lyme disease.
What Increases Your Risk
The main risk factor for Lyme disease is exposure to ticks that are infected with Lyme disease bacteria. In areas where Lyme disease is widespread, such as the eastern and south-central areas of Canada, southern British Columbia, and northeastern United States, several factors may increase your risk, including:
- Spending time outdoors during the warm months of the year when ticks are most active. This is usually between May and November, with peak activity in June and July.
- Having indoor/outdoor pets. They can bring infected ticks into the house. Although dogs and cats can become infected with the Lyme disease bacteria, they cannot pass the illness to humans. But the infected ticks can drop off the animal and then bite and infect a person.
- Having a stone fence or a bird feeder near your house. Stone fences often become homes for mice, and mice may feed on spilled seed from a bird feeder. Where there are mice, there are ticks.
Remove ticks right away, as soon as you notice them. Your risk for getting Lyme disease increases the longer a tick is attached to your body. Ticks generally cannot transmit Lyme disease until they are attached for at least 36 hours.
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