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.
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 Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
What Are Some Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The most visible sign of Lyme disease is the characteristic rash called erythema migrans or “bull’s eye.”
- Usually develops within one month of the tick bite
- Typically occurs at the site of the bite, starting as a red area and then expanding in size over days and weeks
- Can become as large as 8 inches in diameter and typically develops around an area of clear skin giving it a “bull’s eye” appearance.
Only about 30% of people who develop this rash actually recall having a tick bite.
It is important to know that it is very common to have a small area of redness at the site of a tick bite immediately after the bite due to irritation from the ticks saliva. This is a different rash and does not indicate Lyme disease.
This type of rash will go away after 24-48 hours and does not expand over time. If you are not sure which type of rash is present, it is important to see your health care provider.
Other early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Aching joints and muscles
- Swollen lymph nodes
If not treated, Lyme can affect the heart, joints, and nervous system.
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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 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.
When Should I Go To The Doctor For A Tick Bite
When to See a Doctor for a Tick Bite:
If you develop flu-like symptoms days or weeks after being bitten by a tick or notice that the skin surrounding a tick bite is becoming more swollen with enlarging areas of redness, it is time to visit a doctor for evaluation and possible treatment for Lyme disease.
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A Tick Bite Is Never Something To Brush Off Forget About And Deal With Later Many Ticks Carry Microbes That Can Cause A Variety Of Diseases
If diseases caused by tick bites are left untreated, they can lead to serious health problems that could potentially affect your muscles, joints, brain, heart, vision, and nervous system. Many tick-borne illnesses can have serious consequences that alter your lifestyle and activities by limiting your mobility, cognition, and overall quality of life. Knowing how to identify a tick bite and recognizing the general symptoms of tick-borne diseases can alert you to possible health risks sooner, so you can consult with your healthcare provider about appropriate next steps as soon as possible.
What a tick looks like
The first step in identifying tick bites is to know what ticks look like. Ticks will look different at each stage of their life cycle. Belonging to the arachnid class , ticks begin their life as an egg then hatch as a larva, which grows into a nymph and finally an adult tick. Dozens of tick species exist, but all are similar in appearance.
Photo taken by Christopher Paddock. Image Source:
Ticks generally have four stages of life: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. Ticks advance through each of these stages by molting, a process during which they shed their outer skin.
What does a tick bite look like?
If youre worried you may have been exposed to a tick-borne illness, its obvious to wonder what a tick bite looks like. Unless a rash appears, a tick bite is likely to look much like any other bug bite.
Testing For Kidney Disease
Tests to diagnose kidney disease include complete blood count, serum biochemistry, and urinalysis. These blood tests will determine if your pet is anemic, determine white blood cell counts, measure blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and electrolytes. A urinalysis is essential for the proper interpretation of the urea and creatinine values in the serum biochemistry profile and may also provide important clues to the possible underlying cause of kidney disease. A urinalysis will also determine the specific gravity, pH, presence of blood in the urine, and the amount of protein in the urine. An evaluation of the urine sediment will determine the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, crystalline material, and cellular casts all of which provide information to determine the underlying cause of kidney disease in your pet. Further diagnostic tests may be recommended based on the results of these initial screening tests.
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Learn The Stages Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three. A bulls-eye rash is usually considered one of the first signs of infection, but many people develop a different kind of rash or none at all. In most cases, Lyme symptoms can start with a flu-like illness. If untreated, the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived debilitating illness.
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the
infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage.
Symptoms may include:
- skin rash, which may or may not look like a bulls eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and fever
- muscle soreness and joint pain
- swollen lymph nodes
- sore throat
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme
Early disseminated Lyme may occur several weeks or months after the tick bite. Bacteria are beginning to spread throughout the body. In addition to flu-like symptoms, this stage is often characterized by increase in symptoms such as:
- pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs
- vision changes
- heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain
- rash may appear on body
- facial paralysis
Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
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Can I Catch Lyme Disease From My Dog
Dogs are not a direct source of infection for people. Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dogs fur and get on you.
If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members.
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Protecting Yourself From Ticks
There are a number of evidence-based ways to ward off ticks:
Tuck pants into socks.
Use tick repellents on skin, socks, and gear.
BioUD is a tick repellent recommended by the CDC that contains 2-undecanone from wild tomato essential oil. In one study BioUD worked as well as DEET in repelling ticks, while permethrin treatment was not as effective. Volunteers walked around a field for fifteen minutes with socks treated with one of these or with nothing and then counted ticks .
Mixed essential oils are also recommended by the CDCrosemary, lemongrass, cedar, peppermint, thyme, and geraniolfor use on skin and lawns.
Other repellents listed by the CDC include DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus , and para-menthane-diol .
The CDC also recommends spraying clothing with permethrin or purchasing permethrin-embedded gear .
Who Gets Lyme Disease And At What Time Of Year
Lyme disease is transmitted via the bite of infected ticks, which attach to any part of the body, but often to moist or hairy areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
While everyone is susceptible to tick bites, campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and other leafy outdoor venues are at the greatest risk of tick bites. As many a suburban gardener can attest, with the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving, too, providing ample blood meals for ticks. For lyme disease to be transmitted, a tick needs to feed on the host for 24-48 hours.
In the majority of cases, tick bites are reported in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But this can extend into the warmer months of early autumn, too, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. Similarly, a mild winter can allow ticks, much like other insects, to thrive and emerge earlier than usual.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not consistent and may mimic other conditions. The primary symptom is a rash, but it may not be present in up to 20% of cases.
Diagnosis for Lyme disease must be made by a healthcare provider experienced in recognizing Lyme disease. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Testing is generally done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions. This may need blood and other lab tests.
Research is underway to develop and improve methods for diagnosing Lyme disease.
The symptoms of Lyme disease may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Do All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
No. Commonly known as deer ticks, the tiny blacklegged ticks are the ones that carry Lyme disease. Immature ticks, called nymphs, are about the size of a poppyseed and adults are about the size of a sesame seed. Ticks at both of those life stages can transmit the bacteria that causes the disease.
But not all blacklegged ticks will give you Lyme disease. It depends on the area, Lewis says, but you can have up to half of the ticks carrying bacteria.
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How To Safely Remove A Tick
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, and some ticks carry other diseases. To avoid infecting yourself, never crush a tick with your fingers. For more information on the safe removal, disposal and identification of ticks visit CDC.gov/ticks.
Lyme Disease In Horses: Symptoms Treatment And Prevention
Grooming your horse every day and checking for ticks is one of the best preventative measures against Lyme disease. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill
May 20, 2021 | Showing , Timed Events , Trail Riding , Ranching | Ranching , Healthcare and medication , Ranching , Showing , Horse Health and care
The signs can be vague and mysterious. A thumbnail-size lump on the body, general lethargy and sore joints could point to anything or nothing at all, which is exactly the problem posed by Lyme disease in horses, which can present as a number of rather generic symptoms.
If you live in an area where ticks are common, Lyme disease is a possibility for humans and horses alike. While it is usually a treatable disease, it is one where an ounce of prevention is the best option.
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What You Should Know About Dog Ticks And Lyme Disease
I found a dog tick on my ankle. Do they cause Lyme disease?
I found a dog tick on my ankle. Do they cause Lyme disease?
Not Lyme, thankfully, but dog ticks can give you Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can be just as serious, and even fatal. Despite the name, this infection happens throughout the country, though most cases occur in five states: North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting and a red, spotty rash.
There are several species of ticks, each one associated with different diseases. For example, lone star ticks are more common in the Southeast and South Central U.S. and can cause ehrlichiosis, which leads to head and muscle aches, while deer ticks are mainly in the Northeast.
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Ick, I know. But keep in mind that a bite doesnt guarantee that youll get an infection. Not every tick is diseased, and removing the bug within 24 hours can reduce the likelihood of illness. Also, you dont have to run to the doctor right away.
First remove the tick and snap a picture of it. Then, over the next few weeks, keep a close eye out for symptoms, either a red bullseye rash or a fever . If you do develop symptoms, take the photo of the tick with you to the doctor. Knowing the type of tick that bit you can help her prescribe the right antibiotics, which are effective when started early.
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.
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Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
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.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
How Lyme Disease Is Identified In Horses
The identification and treatment of the most common form of Lyme disease starts with diagnostics.
When we have a horse that has signs that we think could be compatible with Lyme disease, the next step is actually to rule out all the other causes that could be causing it, Dr. DeNotta says.
A veterinarian typically starts with a complete physical exam, blood work, lameness exam and diagnostic workup.
Its what we call a diagnosis of exclusion, Dr. DeNotta says. The reason for that is most of the time, its something else .
The veterinarian first must rule out the most common reasons causing whatever abnormality the horses owner is reporting.
An additional difficulty is that the bacteria doesnt show in high concentrations in easily sampled fluids, such as blood, which would allow for a direct test. This is why the blood work is checked for, among other things, the antibody levels.
However, if all those reasons have not proven compatible, and the horse has antibody levels indicating a past or ongoing borrelia infection, the veterinarian at that point might look to Lyme disease and recommend treatment.
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Where Do We Find Ticks
Generally, you can find ticks where the animals they feed on live. This usually includes wooded and grassy areas. An adult tick quests for its next blood meal by climbing up grasses and bushes to wait for an animal to pass by. Nymphs and larvae are typically found in layers of decomposing leaves underneath trees. Ticks thrive in damp environments and are less active in hot, dry weather.