When To Seek Medical Help
If you develop a rash after being exposed to ticks, you can draw around the rash with a pen and take a photo. This way, you can check if the rash expands.
- The rash is 5 cm in diameter or larger
- The rash lasts more than 48 hours
- You believe you have one or more other symptoms of Lyme disease within days, weeks or months after engaging in outdoor activities where you may be exposed to ticks
If you have noted a bite, provide the information you noted concerning the bite:
- The part of the body that was bitten
- The date and the place you were when you were bitten
If you consult a doctor, bring the tick, if possible, in a closed container such as a pill container.
Why Antibiotics Arent The Best Option
Conventional Lyme treatment includes weeks or months of antibiotic therapy. This approach not only is proving to be ineffective, but its also potentially harmful. Side effects may include intestinal bleeding, blood clots in your lungs, and anemia. The longer you take the drugs, the greater your risk of harm.
At the least, the antibiotics disrupt the health of your gut bacteria or microbiota. This can also impair your immune function since at least 70% of your immune system cells reside in your gut. You need a healthy immune system to get well.
And, even though antibiotics are powerful, they dont help the joint pain or nerve problems of the infection.
Some people think that the length of time you take antibiotics makes the difference in their effectiveness. Results are proving otherwise. In two studies of chronic Lyme patients, three months of antibiotics were no better than a placebo.
In some cases, the drugs may produce short-term improvement in your ailments. But, these may quickly return once you finish the antibiotics.
So, how does Borrelia burgdorferi escape such intense treatment? The answer lies in their incredible defense mechanisms.
Here are four reasons antibiotics are ineffective for chronic Lyme:
1. Lyme bacteria can change their physical shape
The Lyme bacteria are also able to talk to each other. As soon as one detects antibiotics, it sends out a distress call to the others. They can wind into cysts before the drugs harm them.
Tick Bite Lyme Disease Symptoms: How Long Does The Lyme Disease Bullseye Rash Last
Lyme disease bullseye rash is seen in nearly 8 out of 10 people following a tick bite. However, most bites tend to go unnoticed since the ticks are very small. The ticks transmit an organism called Borrelia Burgdorferi which enters the hosts bloodstream. Following an incubation period of few days or weeks, a reddish target like mark starts to appear in the bitten region.
Lyme disease symptoms usually occur in phases:
- As stated above it starts off as a target shaped bullseye rash that grows and spreads. Typical period for this localized rash to appear is 3-30 days. Nearly 7 to 8 out of every 10 bitten individuals develop this rash.
- Some people get a tick bite swelling in the area which goes down within a day or two.
- The rash itself might disappear within a short time: a couple of days or weeks but other symptoms might appear.
- Fever, fatigue, muscle aches and headaches are common. However, since these are common symptoms that mimic other diseases, Lymes tends to go unnoticed in the first few weeks.
- The Lyme disease bullseye rash might be itchy, warm to touch, or painful and can occur on any region of the body. Typically it may be seen in the groin, back, arms, thighs etc.
Other symptoms of Lymes include:
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What Is Late Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is caused by an infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is disseminated through tick bites. Infected ticks usually bite small mammals, who do not develop any kind of infection from the bacteria. When humans are exposed to B. Burgdorferi from a tick bite, however, they can develop Lyme disease.
People who work outside or spend time in woodland areas, where there is greater potential for exposure to tick bites, are most at risk of infection.
Lyme disease is a condition which progresses in stages:
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.
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Early Detection Is Key
Stephen Morse, PhD, an epidemiologist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said that the findings were reassuring.
The general wisdom about it was even if you didnt find the tick immediately it would take about 48 hours, to contract Lyme disease, said Morse. This seems to be true here, too.
Morse said the data can help to inform people on how to enjoy the outdoors safely.
He pointed out that in areas with high numbers of ticks, people may need to take precautions even if they just go into their own backyards.
If youve got a nice backyard, use that mosquito repellent or bug repellent, he said.
In addition, there are obviously the usual precautions of dont leave a lot of exposed skin, and be careful if youre climbing the underbrush.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease can be different from person to person.
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 3 to 30 days after you have been bitten by an infected blacklegged tick. Most people experience mild flu-like symptoms soon after being bitten, while a small number may have more serious symptoms, sometimes weeks after the bite.
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include:
- Rash, sometimes shaped like a bull’s eye )
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
If left untreated, more severe symptoms may occur and can last from months to years. Severe symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches
- Facial paralysis
- Intermittent muscle, joint, tendon and bone aches
- Heart disorders , known as Lyme carditis
- Neurological disorders
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and less commonly in other joints such as the ankle, elbow and wrists.
In rare cases, Lyme disease can lead to death usually because of complications involving infection of the heart.
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Lyme Disease In Qubec
There are a dozen species of ticks in Québec. The only species that can transmit Lyme disease in Québec and northeastern North America is the Ixodes scapularis tick, also called the deer tick or blacklegged tick.
Since ticks can be transported by birds, they are found in almost all regions of Québec. However, not all ticks carry the bacteria. The risk of contracting Lyme disease is highest in sectors where there are established populations of blacklegged ticks that carry Borrelia burgdorferi. In Québec, according to available surveillance data, these tick are established in the following areas:
- 500 cases in 2019
- and 274 cases in 2020
The fact that Québec winters are less cold than they used to be partly explains the increases before 2020. The warmer climate enables the ticks to survive and grow more easily.
Do All Ticks Transmit Lyme Disease
No. In the northeastern and north-central U.S., the black-legged tick carries Lyme disease. In the Pacific coastal U.S., the western black-legged tick spreads the disease.
Other major tick species in the U.S., like the lone star tick and the dog tick, do NOT transmit the Lyme disease bacterium. But beware: All 50 states have reported Lyme disease, as well as Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.
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People At Risk And Where Ticks Are Found
People who spend time in woodland or heath areas in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and other parts of Europe or North America are most at risk of developing Lyme disease.
Most tick bites happen in late spring, early summer and autumn. This is because these are the times of year when most people take part in outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping.
It’s thought only a small amount of all ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected.
Treatment For Erythema Migrans
People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help prevent late Lyme disease.
Treatment regimens listed in the following table are for the erythema migrans rash, the most common manifestation of early Lyme disease. These regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a persons age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions.
|100 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, three times per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|4.4 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||100 mg per dose|
|50 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 3 doses||500 mg per dose|
|30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||500 mg per dose|
*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize unnecessary antibiotics that might result in adverse effects, including infectious diarrhea and antimicrobial resistance.
NOTE: For people intolerant of amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime, the macrolide azithromycin may be used, although it is less effective. People treated with azithromycin should be closely monitored to ensure that symptoms resolve.
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Cdc Supports The Development Of New Tests
New tests may be developed as alternatives to one or both steps of the two-step process. Before CDC will recommend new tests, they must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration . For more details, see: Recommendations for Test Performance and Interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease.
Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 1 to 2 weeks after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but it isnt painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans is said to be characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people dont have this symptom.
Some people have a rash thats solid red, while people with dark complexions may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
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How Do I Remove A Tick
You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.
If you find a tick:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your skin.
- Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. If part of the tick stays in your skin, don’t worry. It will eventually come out. But call your doctor if you notice any irritation in the area or symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Note: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won’t get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.
Late Or Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment
Experts agree that the earlier you are treated the better, since early treatment is often successful. Unfortunately, a substantial portion of patients treated with short-term antibiotics continue to have significant symptoms. The quality of life of patients with chronic Lyme disease is similar to that of patients with congestive heart failure. Doctors dont agree about the cause of these ongoing symptoms. The primary cause of this debate is flawed diagnostic testing. There is currently no test that can determine whether a patient has active infection or whether the infection has been eradicated by treatment.
The IDSA thinks Lyme disease symptoms after treatment represent a possibly autoimmune, post-Lyme syndrome that is not responsive to antibiotics. The IDSA essentially regards Lyme disease as an acute infection like strep throat that can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. The IDSA guidelines are now eight years old and do not reflect recent science.
ILADS physicians believe that ongoing symptoms probably reflect active infection, which should be treated until the symptoms have resolved. These physicians use treatment approaches employed for persistent infections like tuberculosis, including a combination of drugs and longer treatment durations. The ILADS guidelines have just recently been updated using a rigorous review of the medical literature.
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What Is Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Post Treatment Lyme Disease represents a research subset of patients who remain significantly ill 6 months or more following standard antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease. PTLD is characterized by a constellation of symptoms that includes severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, depression, and cognitive problems such as difficulty with short-term memory, speed of thinking, or multi-tasking. In the absence of a direct diagnostic biomarker blood test, PTLD has been difficult to define by physicians, and its existence has been controversial. However, our clinical research shows that meticulous patient evaluation when used alongside appropriate diagnostic testing can reliably identify patients with a history of previously treated Lyme disease who display the typical symptom patterns of PTLD.
Symptoms: As The Infection Spreads
If the disease goes untreated in its early stages, over several weeks or months it can spread to other areas of the body like your:
- Nervous system
You could also have more rashes and periods of pain and weakness in your arms or legs. Other symptoms include:
- Facial muscle paralysis
- Inflamed brain and spinal cord
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Treatment For Other Forms Of Lyme Disease
People with other forms of disseminated Lyme disease may require longer courses of antibiotics or intravenous treatment with antibiotics such as ceftriaxone. For more information about treating other forms of Lyme disease, see:
The National Institutes of Health has funded several studies on the treatment of Lyme disease that show most people recover within a few weeks of completing a course of oral antibiotics when treated soon after symptom onset. In a small percentage of cases, symptoms such as fatigue and myalgia can last for more than 6 months. This condition is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome , although it is also sometimes called chronic Lyme disease. For details on research into chronic Lyme disease and long-term treatment trials sponsored by NIH, visit the visit the National Institutes of Health Lyme Disease web siteexternal icon.
Treatment For Lyme Disease In Dogs
Once the prevalence of the condition is been confirmed, veterinarian will often suggest antibiotic based treatment which is the first line of treatment of the condition. The prognosis of the disease is better if the disease is treated earlier. This also increases the odds of antibiotics working better against the infection. Most of the dogs with Lyme disease can be treated at home unless their condition appears to be severe. The dog should be given rest and should be kept in a warm and dry environment unless his health improves. In some dogs the symptoms of the condition may not ebb away completely. For example, joint pain may continue even after the bacterial infection has been eradicated completely.
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Key Points To Remember
- Most Lyme disease tests are designed to detect antibodies made by the body in response to infection.
- Antibodies can take several weeks to develop, so patients may test negative if infected only recently.
- Antibodies normally persist in the blood for months or even years after the infection is gone therefore, the test cannot be used to determine cure.
- Infection with other diseases, including some tickborne diseases, or some viral, bacterial, or autoimmune diseases, can result in false positive test results.
- Some tests give results for two types of antibody, IgM and IgG. Positive IgM results should be disregarded if the patient has been ill for more than 30 days.