Tuesday, September 20, 2022

How Can I Tell If I Have Lyme Disease

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What Can A Workplace Or Home Do To Reduce The Presence Of Ticks

Do you know the signs of Lyme disease?

Keep the lawn and yard well maintained to prevent ticks from living near the home or workplace.

  • Keep the grass mowed. Trim trees and shrubs.
  • Remove leaf litter, brush, and weeds at the edge of the lawn, and around stonewalls and woodpiles.
  • Clean up and seal stonewalls and small openings around the home to help discourage rodents.
  • Keep stacked firewood piles and bird feeders away from buildings.
  • Keep any pets, particularly dogs, out of the woods and talk to your veterinarian about tick repellents for your pets.
  • Move childrens swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodlands edge and use a woodchip or mulch foundation.
  • Consider using hard landscape items such as woodchips, mulch, stones, gravel, tile, or metals.
  • Create a border or barrier between the lawn, woods, or stonewalls to discourage deer and rodent activity.
  • Widen woodland trails.

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.

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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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Ticked Off: 10 Years Living With Lyme Disease

I dont know when or where I was bitten by the tick that gave me Lyme disease it could have been during a stroll through a park or even while petting a dog. But I do remember when my symptoms first struck: November 1994. I was 26, with an entry-level job in New York City, straight off the hay wagon from Texas and replete with enough energy to go to the gym after work, play pool until 3 a.m. and roll into the office the next day with a clear head. My illness began like the flu, but when the fever lingered for a month despite two weeks of antibiotics, I found a doctor on my plan who could see me before the weekend.

A specialist in chronic fatigue syndrome, the doctor ran a few tests and then christened me with a CFS diagnosis. In practically the same breath, she pointed to a glossy womens magazine on her desk and said proudly, Im in this months issue. I nodded, impressed. Armed with a vial of pork liver extract that I was to self-inject weekly , I left feeling relieved. There was a name for what had been plaguing me for more than a month, and it wasnt lethal.

Several weeks later, fatigue became the least of my problems. My muscles began to seize up, a constriction like being on the starting block at a race, waiting for the gun to go off. Worse, I had heart palpitations and dizzy spells several times a week. I was afraid I was having a heart attack, but my doctor assured me the spells were typical of CFS. Was that supposed to make me feel better?

Possible Complications To Watch For With Lyme Disease

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Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dogs condition.

  • Some dogs who take antibiotics can develop loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Once infected, a dog will always have the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in his or her body. Therefore, relapses are possible, and owners should be on the lookout for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/or lameness.
  • A small percentage of dogs develop kidney failure as a result of Lyme disease. Clinical signs include vomiting, weight loss, poor appetite, lethargy, increased thirst and urination, and abnormal accumulations of fluid within the body.

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Which Areas Are More Likely To Have It

The tick that causes Lyme disease has been moving from the Northeast and upper Midwest into the Southern and Western U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Cases in California and Florida are on the rise. After a drop between 2017 and 2018, the numbers jumped a little bit in 2019.

But most Lyme cases in 2019 were in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New

Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC, is also a hotspot.

In 2019, Pennsylvania had the most Lyme infections, with 6,763. New York was next, with 2,847 cases.

In the Southern U.S., where itâs hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they don’t dry out. This means people donât get Lyme from Southern ticks very often because they don’t usually come out to bite.

Even though people only report about 30,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year, there are actually around 476,000 a year. The same tick also can spread other diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus. Those diseases are also on the rise in the U.S.

Whoâs likeliest to get Lyme disease?

Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thatâs because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.

Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?

There are several reasons why Lyme is spreading. Some of these are:

Lyme Disease Is Remarkably Difficult To Diagnose

The problem with Lyme disease is that the bacteria can create a hard shell around themselves when inactive so that the blood tests are unable to detect them. This is especially true when the disease has reached the chronic stage. The timing of the symptoms is often used by a medical provider to establish a time line to a tick bite or exposure to a high-risk region where the disease is commonly transmitted.

Because the ticks that can spread Lyme disease are often the size of a pinhead, the ticks might not even be notice. A bulls-eye rash at the bite location is a trademark symptom of Lyme disease, but only about half of the people who are infected with the bacteria develop the rash. Once the disease reaches the chronic stage, chronic arthritis, joint pain, and neurological symptoms begin to appear, sometimes several months after the infection.

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Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions

If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.

The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in the highly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.

If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.

References:

Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.Am J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.

There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.

Prognosis And Chronic Lyme Disease

What Itâs Like to Live with LYME DISEASE | Bustle

The long-term prognosis for individuals who are treated appropriately with antimicrobials for Lyme disease, regardless of the stage of the illness, is excellent. The most common reason for a lack of response to appropriate antimicrobial therapy is misdiagnosis . Nonspecific symptoms, such as fatigue, arthralgia, or myalgia, may persist for several weeks even in patients with early Lyme disease who are treated successfully. Their presence should not be regarded as an indication for additional treatment with antimicrobials. These nonspecific symptoms will usually resolve without additional antimicrobial therapy.

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Lyme Disease Blood Test Results Fully Explained

The Lyme disease blood test is used to discover if someone who has the symptoms of a Borrelia burgdorferi infection actually has the bacteria in their bloodstream. Recent infections are much easier to detect and an IgM and IgG blood test will often be ordered as complimentary information gathering tools. This blood test does not always detect the presence of the disease, so patients that have persistent symptoms after having the test may be re-tested in a few weeks.

If any of these tests come back as positive, then other samples will be used to track the stage of the disease to determine if it has reached the chronic infection stage. At this point, a medical provider will order a Western blot test to confirm the presence of Lyme disease.

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What Do I Do If I Find A Tick On My Skin

Dont panic. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible. Pull up with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick body. Sometimes parts of the tick remain in the skin. You can leave them alone or carefully remove them the same way you would a splinter. Do not use heat , petroleum jelly, or other methods to try to make the tick back out on its own. These methods are not effective.

Wash the area where the tick was attached thoroughly with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area for a few weeks and note any changes. Call your doctor if you develop a rash around the area where the tick was attached. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened.

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What Do The Results Mean

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a two-test process of your sample:

  • If your first test result is negative for Lyme disease, you don’t need any more testing.
  • If your first result is positive for Lyme disease, your blood will get a second test.
  • If both results are positive for Lyme disease and you also have symptoms of infection, you probably have Lyme disease.

Positive results don’t always mean a Lyme disease diagnosis. In some cases, you can have a positive result but not have an infection. Positive results may also mean you have an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

If your lumbar puncture results are positive, it may mean you have Lyme disease, but you might need more tests to confirm a diagnosis.

If your health care provider thinks you have Lyme disease, he or she will prescribe antibiotic treatment. Most people who are treated with antibiotics in the early stage of disease will make a complete recovery.

Diagnosis Testing And Treatment

Lyme disease and other tick

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:

  • Some people who receive antibiotics early in disease may not have a fully developed antibody response or may only develop an antibody response at levels too low to be detected by the test.
  • Antibodies against Lyme disease bacteria usually take a few weeks to develop, so tests performed before this time may be negative even if the person is infected. In this case, if the person is retested a few weeks later, they should have a positive test if they have Lyme disease. It is not until 4 to 6 weeks have passed that the test is likely to be positive. This does not mean that the test is bad, only that it needs to be used correctly.
  • If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.

    * Silver HM. Lyme disease during pregnancy. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1997 Mar 11:93-7.

    The most common co-infections that occur with Lyme disease are anaplasmosis and babesiosis. In general:

    References:

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    How Stephanie Got Answers

    About four years ago, Tait started to suspect she had Lyme disease. A family friend had Lyme, and Tait recognized some of her own symptoms appearing in her friend. She asked her doctor for an ELISA, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or a blood test thats typically the first way doctors test patients who may have Lyme disease. When she learned her insurance wouldnt cover the cost, she paid for the test out of pocket. It came back negative.

    Tait, however, wasnt convinced. She asked for another test, but she said the doctor refused. So she turned to a private lab for a second test, this one a Western Blot, which doctors typically turn to next, to verify a positive ELISA result. That test was positive for the Lyme antibodies.

    I sobbed, because there it was in my hands that I wasnt just jumping to conclusions, Tait said. I walked back into my doctors office and said, Here it is. They said, Well, we didnt do this test, so how do we know? I said, Youve got to be kidding me. I have a lab test!

    Tait started getting treatment at a private clinic in Idaho that specializes in treating Lyme disease, about a six-hour drive from where she lives.

    Lyme disease is typically treated with antibiotics, and when treated early, people with Lyme usually recover completely. Taits treatment plan included antibiotics, immunotherapy, various supplements as well as dietary changes. But because she had been sick for so long, some of her health problems were irreversible.

    Investigation Of Suspected Lyme Disease

    Erythema migrans is a clinical diagnosis and does not require confirmation by laboratory testing. Lyme disease is not a notifiable disease so there is no statutory requirement to notify clinically suspected cases to the local Health Protection Team.

    The 2018 NICE Lyme disease guideline provides detailed advice about when a diagnosis of Lyme disease should be suspected and about which tests to use and when.

    The NICE Lyme disease guideline also contains a useful summary diagram of the routine serological testing recommendations for Lyme disease.

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    Living With Lyme Disease

    Most people treated in the early stages of Lyme disease make a quick and complete recovery. Some may experience symptoms for a few weeks after treatment. If you were treated for Lyme disease but you still dont feel well, call your family doctor. They can make sure there isnt something else wrong. They can help you find ways to ease your symptoms. Some patients have found relief with treatments typically used for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.

    Other things you can do to help manage Lyme disease include:

    • Educate yourself. There is a lot of inaccurate information to be sorted through, especially on the internet. Ask your doctor if you have questions.
    • Track your symptoms. Keep a diary of your sleep patterns, eating habits, exercise routines, and how youre feeling. You or your doctor may be able to make connections between them.
    • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise as regularly as you can. Get plenty of rest.
    • Find support.It can be hard to not feel well and not know why. Some people may think your symptoms arent real. Talk to friends and family. If they cant offer support, talk with a counselor who can help you.

    What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection

    How Do You Know If You Have Lyme Disease

    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.

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