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.
Stage : Early Localized Lyme Disease
Stage 1 or early localized Lyme disease occurs 128 days following a tick bite.
Some people with stage one Lyme disease do not experience any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may include the following:
- a skin rash that may or may not resemble a bulls-eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and a fever
- swollen lymph nodes
What Are The Long Term Effects Of Untreated Lyme Disease
Consult your doctor even if signs and symptoms disappear the absence of symptoms doesnt mean the disease is gone. Untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of your body for several months to years after infection, causing arthritis and nervous system problems.
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How Can People Prevent Lyme Disease
There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease however, there are three approaches to preventing Lyme disease.
- Try to stay out of woodlands and brush areas where the tick thrives, especially during the peak season of summer and early fall.
- Wear garments that will create barriers to the tick attaching to the skin and biting.
- Tuck pant legs into socks so ticks cannot easily crawl the short distance from the ground to just above the sock line. Wear light-colored clothing to better identify ticks.
- The application of the insecticide DEET to clothing and skin has been found to decrease tick bites and the chance for Lyme disease infections.
- Deer ticks need to remain attached to the skin for about 24-48 hours to transmit the Borrelia bacteria to the skin. Inspect all areas of the body after outdoor activity.
- If you notice a bite, it is very important to watch for symptoms, which usually show up in about three weeks.
- Ticks attach to areas that are warm and moist, such as
- the groin,
- the underside of a woman’s breasts, and
- the neck and hairline.
Tackling Lyme Disease: How Researchers Plan To Disarm Ticks
The treatment options for chronic Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, are still limited. But now, researchers are pursuing a new approach: Eliminating the cause directly at the source.
Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria can trigger chronic diseases but a remedy may be in sight
Lyme disease may eventually be a thing of the past, says Kim Lewis, professor of biology and director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University in the US city of Boston.
The reason for this optimism is the rediscovery of a chemical that is deadly to the bacterium causing the tick-borne illness but harmless to animals. But more on that in a moment.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which lurks in small rodents such as rats or mice, as well as in deer. They do not show symptoms of the disease. Ticks serve as vectors, meaning they become infected when they feed on blood from these animals and transfer the bacteria to new hosts such as humans.
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Are There Lyme Disease Home Remedies
Health departments in areas with high rates of infection have undertaken campaigns to raise public awareness and educate the public on facts about Lyme disease.
- It is known that certain outdoor areas are highly infested with deer ticks and should be avoided if possible — these include woods and brush areas.
- Generally, the tick counts on suburban lawns are much lower.
Lyme disease should never be treated with home remedies alone. Antibiotics are needed to cure the illness, however, some home remedies may help ease symptoms as you recover. Consult a doctor before taking an herbal supplement or natural remedy as they may interact with medications you already take or may cause unwanted side effects.
- Doctors will treat primary or early Lyme disease with oral antibiotics, including doxycycline , cefuroxime , penicillins, amoxicillin , or erythromycin . In early stages, the disease can be curable with just this antibiotic treatment.
- Pregnant women are usually treated with penicillins or erythromycin. Doxycycline is generally avoided as it may affect the development of the fetus.
- Doctors may treat late-stage cases of neurological, heart, or arthritic Lyme disease with intravenous antibiotics in the hospital or as an outpatient.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be recommended to help relieve pain and inflammation.
Getting Tested For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed or entirely missed at early stages. As mentioned above, this can allow the disease to develop into more severe and/or chronic Lyme disease down the road. This is why its so important to get an accurate diagnosis as early as possible.
There are a few factors that influence a persons ability to get a reliable diagnosis. One is the timing of the test. Because even the most accurate Lyme disease tests detect antibodies, not the pathogens themselves, its important not to get tested too early after possible exposure. If you test too early with conventional tests, you may not have enough antibodies yet, and the test results could be negative even though you do have an infection. However, there are tests that specialize in early detection IGeneX offers one, the IgXSpot test.
Its also important to recognize that there are at least 18 distinct types of Borrelia that cause Lyme disease, and if your test is only designed to detect one or two types which is unfortunately all too common it will miss infections caused by other types. The most accurate tests for Lyme disease are designed to detect all the different types of Lyme disease bacteria found in North America and Europe.
To learn more about what makes certain types of Lyme disease tests more reliable than others, read IGeneXs blog on the most accurate test for Lyme disease.
Can a tick be tested for disease?
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The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
How To Treat Post Lyme Disease Syndrome
This article was medically reviewed by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 2,170 times.
Most people who contract Lyme disease are cured after a single round of antibiotics. However, some develop symptoms that last months, if not years, after that initial treatment. This condition is called post Lyme disease syndrome, or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome , and doctors have struggled to understand and treat it.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source If you were treated for Lyme disease and are still experiencing symptoms, find a doctor you trust who will listen to you and take you seriously. They can work with you to design a course of treatment that helps control or alleviate your symptoms.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School’s Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
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What Factors Determine How Patients Respond To Treatment
To find out what made some patient substantially improve or become well, we turned to our academic partners at the University of California at Los Angeles who specialize in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Their team looked at 215 features related to diagnostic factors, treatment approach, duration of individual antibiotics, alternative treatments, symptoms, type of clinician, and functional impairment to identify the 30 top predictive features for treatment response . Most of the top 30 features identified in their study related to chronic Lyme disease treatment , symptom severity , and type of clinician treating Lyme disease. We analyzed three of these factors associated with treatment response:
- Treatment approach
- Treatment durations
- Type of clinician overseeing the patients care
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
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Early Lyme Disease Treatment
ILADS doctors are likely to recommend more aggressive and longer antibiotic treatment for patients. They may, for instance, treat high risk tick bites where the tick came from an endemic area, was attached a long time, and was removed improperly. They may treat a Lyme rash for a longer period of time than the IDSA recommends, to ensure that the disease does not progress. They are unlikely to withhold treatment pending laboratory test results.
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.
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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.
The Main Controversies Surrounding Lyme Disease
The blood test the CDC recommends to diagnose Lyme checks for an immune response to the bacteria, not for the Borrelia itself. Thats why the test can be negative if the disease is present for less than a month. It takes at least a couple of weeks to mount an immune response that would turn the test positive. It is easier to diagnose Lyme if you have the classic bulls-eye rash that shows up a few days after the tick bite. In these cases, testing is not even necessary. But the rash only shows up in 80% of cases.
If making a diagnosis can be complex, the controversy about the treatment is so intense that some have even coined the dispute Lyme wars. The clash emerged from doctors offices, and spread to public hearings in statehouses around the country. One of the main points of contention is the duration of antibiotic treatment not only for acute Lyme but also for PTLD. The evidence to recommend a specific length of antibiotics treatment is scarce. Most physicians follow the two- to-four-week treatment the CDC recommends. Some studies funded by the National Institutes of Health did not show any benefit when patients used several months of antibiotics. However, there is anecdotal evidence from a few patients who improved after months of antibiotic treatment. The naysayers believe this is probably due to a placebo effect.
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Top 3 Most Popular Alternative Lyme Disease Treatments
- Herbal protocols rated 68% effective
- Chelation or detox rated 63% effective
- Homeopathy rated 55% effective
Of these alternative treatment options, herbal protocols were rated the most effective by participants, but note that 22% rated this treatment method as having moderate or severe side effects. The treatment option with the most moderate or severe side effects was detox, at 29%. The least effective treatment option was rated to be stem cells.
As shown in the data above, herbal protocols are a common treatment choice, and there is some exciting new research in this field that may make it an even more popular option. Researchers have found that two plants Ghanaian quinine and Japanese knotweed have properties that might make them effective against the Lyme bacteria.
As with any medical intervention, alternative Lyme treatments can come with risks or negative side effects. It is crucial that you discuss these risks with your doctor before beginning any treatment regimen.
Has Niaid Looked At The Potential Benefits Of Long
Yes. NIAID has funded three placebo-controlled clinical trials on the efficacy of prolonged antibiotic therapy for treating PTLDS. The published results were subjected to rigorous statistical, editorial, and scientific peer review.
These trials were designed to ensure that several key parameters were addressed:
- The susceptibility of B.burgdorferi to the antibiotics used
- The ability of the antibiotics to both cross the blood-brain barrier and access the central nervous system and to persist at effective levels throughout the course of therapy
- The ability of the antibiotics to kill bacteria living both outside and inside mammalian cells
- The safety and welfare of patients enrolled in the trials
The first clinical trial, which included two multicenter studies, provided no evidence that extended antibiotic treatment is beneficial. In those studies, physicians examined long-term antibiotic therapy in patients with a well-documented history of previous Lyme disease but who reported persistent pain, fatigue, impaired cognitive function, or unexplained numbness. Those symptoms are common among people reporting PTLDS. Patients were treated with 30 days of an intravenous antibiotic followed by 60 days of an oral antibiotic.
In 2016, a clinical trial conducted in the Netherlands also concluded that in patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease, longer term treatment with antibiotics did not provide additional benefits compared with shorter term regimens.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Most people with Lyme disease become infected during the late spring, summer, and early fall when immature ticks are out feeding. Except in warm climates, few tick bites take place during winter months.
Deer ticks are most often found in wooded areas and nearby grasslands. They are especially common where the two areas merge, including neighborhood yards where deer occasionally roam. Ticks do not survive long on sunny lawns they dry out quickly and die. Although only about 1% of all deer ticks are infected, there are areas in which over 50% of the ticks carry the bacterium. The diseased ticks are often found in the U.S. Northeast and upper Midwest areas.
The following tips can help you avoid tick bites:
Why Are Antibiotics The First Line Of Treatment For Lyme Disease
The use of antibiotics is critical for treating Lyme disease. Without antibiotic treatment, the Lyme disease causing bacteria can evade the host immune system, disseminate through the blood stream, and persist in the body. Antibiotics go into the bacteria preferentially and either stop the multiplication of the bacteria or disrupt the cell wall of the bacteria and kill the bacteria . By stopping the growth or killing the bacteria the human host immune response is given a leg up to eradicate the residual infection. Without antibiotics, the infection in Lyme disease can evade the host immune system and more readily persist.
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Don’t Let Ticks Get To You
It is not yet possible to prevent Lyme disease. Tick bites should be avoided from the outset also in view of the fact that the insects can transmit other diseases as well, such as tick-borne encephalitis , for example.
This means that anyone who is out and about in meadows or forests should wear clothing that is as long as possible, especially on the legs. Putting on long socks also makes life a little more difficult for the little parasitic arachnids, especially if they are pulled up over the bottom of the pant legs.
Ticks are more visible on light-colored clothing. Anti-tick sprays keep ticks away, at least for a limited time, but not all products are equally reliable.
After returning home from an outing in the wild, you should thoroughly check for ticks. If you find one, you should remove it immediately . The sooner, the better!