Seek Medical Care Early To Prevent Lyme Disease From Progressing
Its easy to get bit by a tick and not know it. Most people dont feel a tick on their skin or the bite. Checking your skin for ticks after spending time outdoors can help you find a tick and remove it.
Removing a tick can prevent Lyme disease. A tick must be attached to your skin for at least 36 hours to infect you with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
Its not always possible to find a tick, so its important to pay close attention to your skin. If you notice any signs of Lyme disease or develop a rash, get medical care right away. Ticks can cause other serious diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Related AAD resources
ImagesImage 1: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Image Library, Last accessed May 11, 2017.
Images 2, 3, and 7: Used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 64:619-36.
Image 6: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
ReferencesBhate C and Schwartz RA.
Lyme disease: Part I. Advances and perspectives. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 64:619-36.
Lyme disease: Part II. Management and prevention. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 64:639-53.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Signs and symptoms of untreated Lyme disease. Page last updated October 26, 2016. Last accessed May 2, 2018.
Lyme disease: transmission. Page lasted updated March 4, 2015. Last accessed May 2, 2018.
What If I Don’t Feel Better After Treatment
If you’re treated for Lyme disease and don’t feel better after youve finished your treatment, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a longer course of antibiotics or may be able to prescribe another medication to help with symptoms like joint or muscle pain.
You might also want to seek a second opinion, especially if your Lyme disease diagnosis was not initially confirmed via a two-step blood test. If your body has not responded to antibiotics, its possible that something else besides the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is making you sick. In 2017, for example, the CDC reported on a woman who was given antibiotics and herbal remedies to treat her chronic Lyme disease, when she actually hadand eventually died fromamyotrophic lateral sclerosis .
Even if you do recover completely from a Lyme disease diagnosis, your immune system may continue making antibodies to fight Lyme disease bacteria for months or even years after the infection is gone. Those antibodies wont protect you from getting a second Lyme disease infection, however, so be sure to take steps to protect yourself from ticks in the future.
Some Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms
As mentioned, chronic Lyme disease consists of a broad cluster of physical, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms. Some of these symptoms are much more common, while others almost never occur, but can be deadly. But even the less severe symptoms, such as chronic fatigue and pain, can lead to drastic changes in quality of life for chronic Lyme patients.
Chronic Lyme survivors have reported experiencing the following symptoms for months to years after infection:
- Intermittent fevers, chills, and sweats
- Chronic inflammation
- Numbness and tingling in the limbs
- Dizziness and shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Multiple-chemical sensitivities
Chronic Lyme disease can be linked to deadly symptoms, such as Lyme carditis .
According to Lymedisease.org, studies consistently show that chronic Lyme disease patients have poorer quality of life than those with other chronic diseases. One of their own studies showed that 75% of surveyed patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe.
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Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Ptlds
The terms chronic Lyme disease and Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome are sometimes used interchangeably. However, PTLDS is slightly more restrictive, referring to patients who have received treatment for Lyme disease but go on to experience Lyme disease symptoms. It does not include those who received a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis and have developed chronic symptoms of Lyme disease before receiving any kind of treatment.
The CDC defines PTLDS as generalized and/or recurring pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties that last for more than 6 months after treatment. These mirror symptoms associated with chronic Lyme disease, with or without treatment.
Stage : Quickly Expanding Rash
After being bitten by a black-legged tick, a quickly growing rash can appear. This is the earliest stage of Lyme disease, known as stage 1.
Most people who develop a rash, get it within days or weeks of being bitten by a tick.
Where you see the rash: If you develop a rash, it appears near the tick bit you. For most people, that means the back, groin, armpit, or a lower leg. However, a tick can bite you anywhere.
What the rash can look like: You may see a spot or bump on the skin, which is the bite mark. Around or near the bite mark, a rash develops. Some people see the bulls-eye rash . You can also have one of the other rashes shown here.
Early rash caused by Lyme disease
Notice the bite mark in the center of this early rash, which will expand quickly.
Bull’s-eye rash on woman’s upper arm
This is another early sign of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease rash with lighter color on the outside
This rash has expanded, but you can still see the bite mark in the center.
Rash from Lyme disease has begun to clear
As the rash begins to clear, the redness fades.
If you develop a rash during this stage, you may notice that it:
Feels smooth and warm to the touch
Causes a burning sensation
Itches or feels painful
Has an outer edge that feels scaly or crusty
When the rash and symptoms begin: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the rash begins 3 to 30 days after the tick bites you.
About 50% of people who have Lyme disease develop flu-like symptoms , which include:
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Wood Tick Lyme Disease
The Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, is spread through the bite of infected ticks.The blacklegged tick spreads the disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States.The western blacklegged tick spreads the disease on the Pacific Coast.Ticks can attach to any part of the human.
Is Lyme Disease Treatable
Yes. Lyme disease responds well to antibiotics and is curable.
Most symptoms resolve quickly after the start of antibiotics, however, it can occasionally take weeks or months for all symptoms to completely subside.
The number of days of antibiotics required depends on the symptoms present at the time of diagnosis-a typical course of antibiotics is 2-4 weeks.
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How Can You Prevent Lyme Disease
The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Check the detailed risk areas map to find out where infected ticks are most likely to be found. Remember, as tick populations spread, the risk of acquiring Lyme disease will occur outside these areas in the future. Ticks can be dispersed out of these areas by migratory birds so there is a low risk of being bitten by a tick outside of the known risk areas.
It is recommended that Canadians travelling to highly Lyme endemic areas of the US and Europe, apply permethrin treatments to their clothing or use clothing pre-treated with permethrin. These products can be obtained in some travel clinics or from outdoors retailers when in the US.
Ticks can be infected with more than one type of bacteria that can cause human illness. Guarding against tick bites will protect you from more than just Lyme disease.
Here are some ways to protect yourself if you venture into wooded or forested areas within risk areas for Lyme disease:
Is Lyme Disease Curable
The tick-borne illness can be treated with antibiotics, and most people make a full recovery within weeks or months. So why is there so much confusion?
In much of the country, spring and summer mean warmer weather and spending more time outdoors. Unfortunately, it also means that the ticks that carry Lyme disease bacteria may be out in full force, especially in wooded or grassy areas.
About 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although experts estimate that 10 times that amount may actually be infected. Thats concerning, because if left untreated, Lyme disease can cause nerve damage, memory loss, dangerous inflammation around the heart, and other permanent health problems.
But the good news is that Lyme disease is also very treatableespecially when its diagnosed soon after symptoms begin. Lyme disease is always curable, Daniel Kuritzkes, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, tells Health. The medications we have are very effective at getting rid of the infection. Heres what else you need to know.
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My Friend Had A Tick Bite And Her Doctor Prescribed A Dose Of Antibiotics To Prevent Lyme Disease When Are Prophylactic Antibiotics Recommended
Limited data is available on the benefit of using prophylactic antibiotics in children following a tick bite. The only antibiotic used for this prophylaxis is doxycycline.
Its use is only recommended if the following five criteria are met:
Ask your provider for more information if you think you or your child may need a prophylactic dose of doxycycline following a tick bite.
It is important to get outside and play, hike, and explore. The possibility of tick bites should not prevent you and your children from enjoying the outdoors. Being diligent about tick prevention and tick checks will go a long way in avoiding tick-borne illnesses.
Remember that even if a tick bite occurs, the risk of Lyme disease remains low. Please do not hesitate to call Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center at 674-7337 or the Ottauquechee Health Center at 457-3030 if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help.
How Do You Know If Youll Get Lyme Disease From A Tick Bite
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a a species of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is most commonly transmitted by the bite of a tick of the Ixodes genus. People who spend a lot of time outdoors in areas where ticks with this bacterium are present, are considered to be more at risk of Lyme disease, especially during the summer season.
If youre outdoors and youre bitten by a tick, one of the hallmark symptoms showing you may have been infected with Borrelia is whats known as a bullseye rash around the tick bite.
By bullseye, we mean the rash looks like a circle with some concentric rings expanding out from the insect bite. It may also just look like a red rash but it usually does look more brightly colored red at the outer edges. Take a look here to see some examples.
There is data to suggest only 30-50% of people infected with Borrelia get the bullseye rash so its important to note that absence of this rash does not mean you are safe from infection.
A red rash can be caused by other bites
Because some people are particularly sensitive to insect bites, at times people could be bitten by an insect and a standard rash gets confused with a rash signifying Lyme disease. So at this stage its very difficult to tell if the person whos been bitten will develop Lyme disease.
The acute stage of Lyme disease
If youre in an area prone to Lyme disease
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What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Lyme Disease
Despite some skepticism in the medical community, chronic Lyme disease is a growing epidemic in the U.S. This stems partly from the shortcomings of many of the officially recommended Lyme disease tests, which leave too many patients with untreated infections that then become persistent and debilitating.
The following article will cover what you should know about chronic Lyme and provide an introductory but non-exhaustive chronic Lyme disease symptoms checklist.
Does Lyme Disease Go Away On Its Own
Its certainly possible for people to get Lyme disease and to clear the infection on their own, without treatment, says Dr. Kuritzkes. But its better to be treated, because some of the complicationslike arthritis and myocarditis and damage to the central nervous systemcan be very serious.
The type of bacteria that causes Lyme disease is in the same general family as the type that causes syphilis, Dr. Kuritzkes explains. That doesnt mean anything similar in terms of transmission, but syphilis has several different phases, with primary and secondary and tertiary symptoms, he says. The infection can hide out in the body for a long time and can cause problems down the road if its not treated.
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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.
Is There A Cure Or A Drug Prescribed For People Who Have Not Had Lyme Disease But Are Suffering From The Lymerix Vaccination
The issue of adverse events from the LYMErix vaccine has been under active investigation. If you are suffering from neuropathic pains or arthritic problems after the vaccine, you might consider contacting the Lyme Disease Association for a referral to a physician with a particular clinical and research interest in this question.
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The Right Testing And Care = The Road To Recovery
So we talked about some of the complexities around detecting Lyme and its co-infections and also why some of the current testing is flawed. We also talked about a solution to testing that could detect Lyme in chronic cases. All of this comes down to finding a Calgary Lyme disease doctor who understands Lymes complexities and can provide you with private testing that is based on more current research.
When you see a provider, you want to test for multiple infections including:
With proper lab testing, we can detect 15 confirmed infections that cause disease. We dont currently know all of the infections but the main thing to remember is to get lyme disease testing beyond just Borrelia burgdorferi.
TIP: If you have been tested for Lyme disease before and it came back negative but you have a sneaky suspicion that the test wasnt accurate , you may want to get re-tested.
What Should I Do If I Am Bitten By A Tick
If you experience a tick bite, the best way to remove it is by taking the following steps:
- Tug gently but firmly with blunt tweezers near the “head” of the tick at the level of your skin until it releases its hold on the skin.
- Avoid crushing the tick’s body or handling the tick with bare fingers as you could exposure yourself to the bacteria in the tick.
- Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water.
- DO NOT use kerosene, petroleum jelly , or hot cigarette butts to remove the tick.
- DO NOT squeeze the tick’s body with your fingers or tweezers.
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So When Do You Need Blood Tests For Lyme Disease
In some cases, you can have Lyme disease without the rash. Or you may not see the rash before it goes away on its own.
In these cases, your doctor should ask you about your medical history and do a thorough physical exam. Your doctor should look for these signs that you might have Lyme disease:
- You were in an area with ticks and Lyme disease.
- You also have fever or redness, warmth, and swelling in one or a few joints at a time usually the knees, shoulders, or wrists.
Other symptoms can occur later on. Talk to your doctor about testing and treatment choices.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.