Thursday, May 30, 2024

How Long Can You Have Lyme Disease Without Knowing

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At What Point Do I Stop Antibiotics For The Psychological Symptoms Of Lyme Disease And Conclude That These Symptoms Will Not Go Away

Long Haul Lyme Disease Risk Found: Even in Early Treated Patients | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

The cause of the psychological symptoms in Lyme disease is unclear. It is clear that patients with acute Lyme disease who develop new onset depressive symptoms or irritability or cognitive disturbances often show a remarkable improvement when given antibiotic therapy. If the psychological symptoms persist or if the initial symptoms are severe, it is very important to consult with a psychiatrist to evaluate how best to treat these symptoms apart from the antibiotic therapy. When symptoms continue even after a repeated course of antibiotic therapy, this could be due to the fact that an activated immune system results in a change in neurotransmitter functioning. As a result, the altered neurotransmitter function may contribute to ongoing depressive symptoms, even after the immune system is no longer activated. Treatment of the psychiatric symptoms at that point would require anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications or psychotherapy.

Are There Any Diseases That Can Be Misdiagnosed As Lyme Disease

Lots of diseases could be misdiagnosed as Lyme disease. This of course makes sense when you know that Lyme disease itself may manifest as a multisystemic disorder that can mimic other diseases. This means that just as the Lyme disease might be “missed” in some cases, some individuals may be misdiagnosed as having Lyme disease when in fact they have another disease. Erring on either side of this diagnostic divide can be dangerous. Given that the main symptoms that afflict patients with Lyme disease are fatigue and pain and given that these are non-specific symptoms seen in a wide ranges of diseases, including cancer, hematologic, and endocrine disorders, one has to make sure to rule out other reasonable causes of fatigue and pain before making the diagnosis of Lyme disease. It is also important to realize that a patient can have two independent diseases – Lyme disease and another emergent condition. For example, concurrent depression,sleep apnea or hypothyroidism may exacerbate fatigue in a patient with actual Lyme disease.

Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early. These can include:

  • pain and swelling in the joints
  • nerve problems such as numbness or pain in your limbs
  • memory problems
  • difficulty concentrating

Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment. But they can persist if treatment is started late.

A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens. It’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.

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How Long The Tick Is Attached

In general, it takes about 36 to 48 hours for Lyme bacteria to enter the bloodstream after a tick bite. So if you remove the tick within a day and a half, your risk of getting Lyme disease is substantially lowered. Using tweezers is thought to be the best approach for tick removal: carefully grab the tick near its head or mouth and do not squeeze or crush it, but instead pull gently and slowly in an upward direction.

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What Are The Side Effects Of Lyme Disease Treatments

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Antibiotics, like all medications, have the potential for side effects. Any antibiotic can cause skin rashes, and if an itchy red rash develops while on antibiotics, a patient should see their physician. Sometimes symptoms worsen for the first few days on an antibiotic. This is called a Herxheimer reaction and occurs when the antibiotics start to kill the bacteria. In the first 24 to 48 hours, dead bacterial products stimulate the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that can cause increased fever and achiness. This should be transient and last no more than a day or two after the initiation of antibiotics.

The most common side effect of the penicillin antibiotics is diarrhea, and occasionally even serious cases caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. This bacterial overgrowth condition occurs because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in our gut. It can be helpful to use probiotics to restore the good bacteria and microbiome balance.

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Can You Live With Lyme Disease And Not Know It

One of the only reliable ways to know whether or not you have Lyme disease is through a lab test. This means that if symptoms go unnoticed, it is possible to live with the disease for weeks, months, or even years and not realize it. This is why its crucial to get tested if you suspect you could have contracted Lyme disease.

LetsGetCheckeds at-home Lyme Disease Test can identify Borrelia antibodies in the blood, which can indicate the presence of Lyme disease . Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available to help throughout the process to answer any questions you may have.

You should consider taking the test if:

  • You are presenting with symptoms of Lyme disease
  • You live in a place that is rich in vegetation or a woodland area
  • You live in Northern America or Northern Europe
  • You go camping or hiking on a regular basis, particularly during the Summer or Autumn
  • You come into contact with larger woodland animals on a regular basis

If you develop the erythema migrans rash, or if you experience any neurological symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.

What Criteria Do Doctors Use To Choose Different Antibiotics

Partly, doctors rely on what medicines have been shown in published studies to be effective for Lyme disease. For neurologic Lyme disease, the best tested antibiotic is IV ceftriaxone . For early Lyme disease, the best tested antibiotics include oral doxycycline, cefuroxime and amoxacillin. Physicians however often use other antibiotics well. For example, because one mouse study and several in vitro studies indicate that the agent of Lyme disease can penetrate and lodge inside cells, some doctors prefer to use medications that have good intracellular penetration ). Other factors that go into the decision include whether the patient is allergic to a particular family of antibiotics or whether the patient can tolerate oral medications intolerance might suggest the use of intramuscular penicillin whereas if a person is allergic to penicillins or cephalosporins a doctor would want to avoid long-acting intramuscular penicillin-family medicines.

To our knowledge, having had a Lyme disease infection that has been treated does not have a negative impact on the ability to become pregnant.

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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease Vary From Person To Person

Something to know about the symptoms of Lyme is that they vary depending on the person. Some people may get several symptoms while others only get a few symptoms and those symptoms may not appear for several days or weeks after infection. Lyme Disease isnt like measles where everyone gets the same type of rash or like strep throat where the back of the throat is beet red, and theres a fever, fatigue, and muscle aches.

What If A Tick Bites My Dog

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The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.

Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.

About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.

What if my dog brings ticks into my home?

Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.

Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.

Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.

Show Sources

John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.

CDC.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â

American College of Rheumatology.

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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:

Who’s At Risk Of Lyme Disease

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

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.

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Tick Attachment Times And Other Lyme Disease Myths

Dr. Laurie Radovsky is a family physician in St. Paul, MN. Board-certified in family medicine, she is a member of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine and the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society.

MYTH: You can only have Lyme disease if you live in a few areas of the country.

TRUTH: Lyme disease has been reported in all states of the union. Some of this is due to residents acquiring the infection elsewhere, but the range of infected ticks is much larger than previously believed, and is growing. Ticks associated with carrying Lyme disease have now been identified in almost 50% of counties in the United States. Furthermore, migrating songbirds carry infected ticks, spreading them across their migration route.

MYTH: You can only get Lyme disease during the warmest months.

TRUTH: It is true that the greatest risk of getting bitten by a tick is between May, when nymphs hatch, and July. However, any time when the temperature is above freezing, ticks can be active. Ticks are active well into the fall, so deer hunters are at risk.

MYTH: You can only get Lyme disease if you go into the woods.

TRUTH: As human environments encroach on the wild, the interface between suburbs and the habitat of deer and other animals increases. As noted above, songbirds such as robins carry infected ticks and can deposit them in urban yards as they search for worms in lawns. Pets such as dogs and cats can also bring infected ticks into the home.

What Do You Do If There’s A Tick Under Your Skin

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Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick are still in your skin, try to get those with the tweezers, too. After everything is out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

You probably wonât get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.

How do you throw away a tick?

Put it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.

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How Common Is Untreated Lyme Disease

Its difficult to get exact numbers when it comes to Lyme disease, in part because theres only limited accounting of the conditions frequency overall, and its often misdiagnosed or mistaken for other conditions.

Currently, its estimated that 476,000 people develop it in the United States every year, with 81% of the cases clustered in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and mid-Atlantic regions.

A significantbut shrinkingproportion of those with the disease end up progressing without treatment. Current estimates are hard to come by. In 2012, researchers estimated that about 16% of Lyme disease cases present without rashincreasing the chance that the case is missed, overall. From 1.6% to 7% of all infections have no symptoms.

Knowledge and awareness of this disease have grown over the past couple of decades, greatly improving outcomes. This improving prognosis is associated with better care and detection, leading to timelier intervention.

If you live in a hot spot area for black-legged ticks, never hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional if youre feeling sick or have a rash.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Symptoms can start anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite. They may look different depending on the stage of your infection. In some cases, you wonât notice any symptoms until months after the bite.

Early symptoms include:

All of those symptoms are also common in the flu. In most Lyme infections, one of the first symptoms youâll notice is a rash.

Without treatment, symptoms can get worse. They might include:

  • Severe headache or neck stiffness
  • Rashes on other areas of your body
  • Arthritis with joint pain and swelling, particularly in your knees
  • âDroopingâ on one or both sides of your face
  • Inflammation in your brain and spinal cord
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet

What does the rash look like?

Some Lyme rashes look like a bull’s-eye with circles around the middle. But most are round, red, and at least 2 inches across.

The rash slowly gets bigger over several days. It can grow to about 12 inches across. It may feel warm to the touch, but itâs usually not itchy or painful. It can show up on any part of your body.

How small are ticks?

Ticks come in three sizes, depending on their life stage. They can be the size of a grain of sand, a poppy seed, or an apple seed.

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What Should You Do If You Find A Tick

  • Don’t touch the tick with your bare hand.

  • Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your skin as possible.

  • Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Don’t squeeze the tick, and don’t use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.

  • Save the tick. Place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if needed.

  • Wash the bite area well with soap and water and put an antiseptic lotion or cream on the site.

Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions

Testing for Lyme DiseaseWhat You Need to Know

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.

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Who Gets Lyme Disease

Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.

What Is The Best Way To Remove A Tick And What If I Did Not Get The Entire Tick Out

The Centers for Disease Control provides this information about removing a tick: Remove a tick from your skin as soon as you notice it. Use fine-tipped tweezers to firmly grasp the tick very close to your skin. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from your skin. Then clean your skin with soap and warm water. Throw the dead tick away with your household trash. Avoid crushing the tick’s body. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Once the mouthparts are removed from the rest of the tick, it can no longer transmit the Lyme disease bacteria. If you accidentally crush the tick, clean your skin with soap and warm water or alcohol. Don’t use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to remove a tick. View a diagram of how to remove a tick.

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