Monday, November 28, 2022

How Bad Is Lyme Disease

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

MN firefighter brings more awareness to Lyme disease as a bad tick season approaches

Early symptoms usually appear within 3 to 30 days after the bite of an infected tick. In 60-80 percent of cases, a circular bull’s eye rash about two inches in diameter, called erythema migrans, appears and expands around or near the site of the tick bite. Sometimes, multiple rash sites appear. One or more of the following symptoms usually mark the early stage of Lyme disease: chills and fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle and/or joint pain, and swollen glands. If Lyme disease is unrecognized or untreated in the early stage, more severe symptoms may occur. As the disease progresses, severe fatigue, a stiff aching neck, and tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, or facial paralysis can occur. The most severe symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months or years after the tick bite. These can include severe headaches, painful arthritis, swelling of the joints, and heart and central nervous system problems.

So My Dog Is Positive Now What

The big question to ask yourself is whether or not your dog is showing symptoms for Lyme. Do they have a fever? Are they eating? Are they limping? Hows their energy level? If the answers to all of these are good and normal then your dog is what we call an asymptomatic positive. And now the can of worms opens. Im going to lay out what Ive found in my research for this article. BUT this is where that disclaimer at the top bears repeating. This is my opinion and, as with any disease, you need to consult with your veterinarian before deciding on any treatment course.

Onward. Lets hit the easy one first, your animal is positive for Lyme and has symptoms. They should, and will, be treated by your veterinarian. First choice antibiotics are doxycycline or amoxicillin. Typically dogs are treated for a month, though no one knows how long it takes to truly clear a dog of the carrier state . There is a second C6 test that tests for the same antibodies as the SNAP test but it quantifies the level of antibody present. There is some use in using this test in dogs receiving treatment as you can test before and after to see if antibody levels falling which may give you an idea of if the treatment is working .

Dog And Lyme Disease: The Good The Bad And The Scary

Lyme disease, just the name alone is enough to give veterinarians a headache. It is a complicated combination of exposure, infection, clinical signs, prevention and treatment. All of this is wrapped up in multiple controversies: is my animal at risk? Should we vaccinate? Should we test on a regular basis? What should be done once an animal tests positive? This article is going to try and sort out these questions and give some advice. But always remember whether it is Lyme or any other disease process the best place to discuss information, testing and treatment options is going to be with your veterinarian.

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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 You Get Lyme Disease

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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.

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A Tick Bite Doesnt Feel Like A Mosquito Bite

Many people think theyll be able to feel when a tick bites them, just like they feel a mosquito bite.

But ticks are sneaky little bloodsuckers, and theyve evolved with some sophisticated, almost science fiction-like mechanisms.

Their saliva contains natural anesthetic and immune suppressors to ensure that you dont feel anything at all when they jab you to feed, reports the Internal Lyme and Associated Diseases Society .

The less access the ticks have to your skin, the better. Wear light-colored clothing and tuck your long-sleeved shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.

The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.

The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. It’s not usually hot or itchy.

The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.

Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:

  • a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • headache
  • tiredness and loss of energy

Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later.

This is more likely if treatment is delayed.

These more severe symptoms may include:

  • pain and swelling in joints
  • nerve problems such as pain or numbness
  • heart problems
  • trouble with memory or concentration

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Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.

These symptoms are often compared to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s also no agreed treatment.

Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.

The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:

  • referral for a care needs assessment
  • telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
  • communicating with children and families’ social care

Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024

What Are Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Aurora man on what its like to live with Lyme disease

Lyme disease symptoms can often be mistaken for the flu. Within the first three to 30 days after a tick bite, a person can experience fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches and fatigue.

A rash at the site of the tick bite can occur in about 70 to 80 per cent of infections, on average a week after infection. The rash can grow up to 12 inches in size and may feel warm or hot to the touch.

Days to months after infection, symptoms can progress to include a severe headache, neck stiffness, additional rashes may develop on other areas of the body.

Facial palsy, arthritis, nerve pain, dizziness, heart palpitations, shooting pains or tingling in the hands or feet as well as problem with short-term memory.

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How To Remove A Tick

Removing a tick is the same for humans and animals. Its important you do not crush or damage the tick because it could cause Lyme bacteria to pass from the tick into your bloodstream.

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible.
  • Do not use a lit match or cigarette, nail polish or nail polish remover, petroleum jelly , liquid soap or kerosene to remove the tick.
  • Pull the tick straight out, gently but firmly.
  • Do not jerk or twist the tweezers while pulling the tick out.
  • Do not squeeze the tick you might crush it.
  • How to remove a tick.

  • Once you have removed a tick, wash your skin with soap and water and then disinfect your skin and your hands with rubbing alcohol or an iodine swab.
  • Before disposing of the tick, call or check the website of your local public health unit to get advice on how to identify the tick. You can also submit a photo of the tick to etick.ca for identification.
  • What Is Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is spread to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks . Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria. Lyme disease can affect people of any age. A vaccine for Lyme disease is not currently available. Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in New York and has been reportable since 1986.

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    Who Is At Risk

    Many occupations may be at risk, including forestry, farming, veterinarians, construction, landscaping, ground keepers, park or wildlife management, and anyone who either works outside or has contact with animals that may carry ticks

    Similarly, any person who spends a lot time outdoors , especially in grassy or wooded areas may also be at risk.

    And The Murky Scarier Part

    Officials Brace for Bad Tick, Lyme Disease Season

    Less easy one. Asymptomatic animals. First question, is it worth doing the Quant C6 test in these animals? Well, maybe. There is no evidence that antibody levels as measured by this test correlates to whether or not the dog will become symptomatic and, if so, the severity of the disease. Is it worth treating asymptomatic animals with a course of doxycycline? Well, maybe. There are arguments for this, primarily of the if we dont treat will my animal get worse later? variety-no one knows the answer.

    Arguments against include: overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistance , doxycycline can lead to unwanted side effects and, finally, back to most of these dogs will not get sick. So whats the answerthat, for me, leads to the most concerning of all the potential consequences of Lyme disease.

    A small percentage of dogs that get Lyme disease may get Lyme nephritis. This is a kidney disease thought to be caused by antibody/antigen immune complex formation that are deposited in the kidneys and lead to acute renal failure. These dogs have, unfortunately, a universally grave prognosis. They go downhill and die very quickly even with aggressive treatment. How can you tell if this rare consequence will occur in your dog? you cant. BUT it does help answer whether or not you should treat asymptomatic dogs.

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    How Can You Reduce Tick Habitats Near Your Home

    Here are some ways to limit exposure to ticks near your home:

    • Mow the lawn regularly to keep the grass short
    • Remove leaf litter, brush and weeds at the edge of the lawn and around stonewalls and woodpiles
    • Stack firewood neatly and in a dry area
    • Put barriers to exclude deer around your home and seal stonewalls and small openings to discourage rodent activity
    • Place children’s recreational playground sets, patios and decks away from the yard edges and trees. Place them on a woodchip or mulch foundation and in a sunny location, if possible.
    • Treat pets that are commonly exposed to ticks with oral or topic acaricides as they could carry ticks into the home

    What Is Chronic Lyme Disease’

    There is no agreed definition of the term chronic Lyme disease among doctors so it can mean different things to different people. Some people use the term chronic Lyme disease to describe a range of non-specific symptoms including chronic tiredness and unexplained neurological symptoms, even when there is no evidence of past or current Lyme disease infection.

    The non-specific symptoms overlap with those of several other conditions including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, which can be triggered by common infections such as the glandular fever virus, and more recently COVID-19.

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    What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection

    There are three stages:

    • Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
    • Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
    • Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.

    About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.

    Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.

    How Should A Tick Be Removed

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    Grasp the mouthparts with tweezers as close as possible to the attachment site. Be careful not to squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick, which may contain infectious fluids. Pull firmly and steadily upward to remove the tick. After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite site and wash hands. The NYSDOH has created a video on proper tick removal and a printable card with steps on how to remove ticks . See or call a doctor if there are concerns about incomplete tick removal. Do not attempt to remove ticks by using petroleum jelly, lit cigarettes or other home remedies because these may actually increase the chance of contracting a tick-borne disease.

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    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.

    What To Expect When Starting Treatment

    The bad days are the days where you learn to understand that treatment is actually worse than doing nothing to combat your symptoms in the first place. Bad days will lead you to question your own sanity but you can’t lose control here. This stage is critical to get through. There is one important thing to remember with bad days and that is they’re worth it. It may be hard to see when you’re in such a debilitated stage of recovery but you’re actually killing off spirochetes. These little guys don’t go without a fight and they make that very clear on your worst days.
    On a good day, you’ll question yourself as to whether you have beaten the disease or if you even ever had it in the first place. Don’t get cocky here. Your body is still flooded with the spirochetes and you happen to be experiencing a day when they’re in hiding or your body is just up to par as far as detoxing. A good day may turn into many good days but don’t tempt yourself to carry on with old habits here. You must remain vigilant of the dire situation because once you up your dose of antibiotics, reality will set right back in.You will quickly be reminded that your body is in a fragile state and that you’ve been fooled. Your bad days are going to be when your herx is at its worst. Bad days can linger for a few days or all the way up to a couple weeks.

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