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How To Tell If You Got Lyme Disease

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Is There A Blood Test For Lyme Disease

Do you know the signs of Lyme disease?

If your doctor suspects that you have Lyme disease, they may order two blood tests. These will look for signs that your body is trying to fight it off. The results are most precise a few weeks after youâve been infected.

These tests are:

ELISA test. This test canât check for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. It can only look for your immune systemâs response to it.

Once Borrelia burgdorferi gets into your blood, your body begins to make special proteins called antibodies to fight it off. The ELISA test checks for those antibodies.

Although itâs the most common way to check for Lyme disease, the ELISA test isnât perfect. It can sometimes give false âpositiveâ results. On the other hand, if you have it done too soon after youâve been infected, your body may not have developed enough antibodies for the test to detect them. This will give you a ânegativeâ result even though you do have Lyme disease.

Western blot test. Whether your ELISA test comes back positive or negative, your doctor will need to do this blood test, too.

A Western blot uses electricity to split certain proteins in your blood into patterns. This is then compared to the pattern of people known to have Lyme disease.

At least five band matches means that you have Lyme disease. Still, not all labs have the same standards. Thereâs a chance that you could get a âpositiveâ result from one and a ânegativeâ result from another.

How To Spot And Remove Ticks

Once youve come in from outside, one of the best ways to check yourself for ticks is to take a shower and bath.

Other than that, do your best to check your clothes, especially the folds of your clothes, knowing that ticks can be very small and hard to spot. Running your hands through your hair is also a good idea.

Is There A Lyme Disease Test Kit

Blood collection kits are available for at-home Lyme disease testing. Lyme disease test kits can cost as less as $20 and as much as $100 or more. Using a Lyme disease test kit is as simple as pricking your finger and smearing or collecting the blood onto the kit for testing.

However, testing for Lyme disease in a more controlled environment such as a lab or clinic is preferable as qualified healthcare professionals are likely to perform a more reliable test.

  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention . Data and surveillance. Retrieved from
  • Eugene D. S. . Lyme disease. N Engl J Med 2014 370:1724-1731. Retrieved from
  • Zeller J. L. . Lyme disease. JAMA. 2007 297:2664. Retrieved from
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention . Diagnosis and testing. Retrieved from
  • Waddell L. A., et al. . The accuracy of diagnostic tests for Lyme disease in humans, a systematic review and meta-analysis of North American research. PLoS One. 2016 11: e0168613. Retrieved from

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    Lyme Disease Rashes And Look

    Circular, expanding rash with target-like appearance.

    Expanding rash with central crust

    Expanding lesion with central crust on chest.

    Expanding erythema migrans

    Photo Credit: Reprinted from Bhate C, Schwartz RA. Lyme disease: Part I. Advances and perspectivesexternal icon. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 64:619-36, with permission from Elsevier.

    Description:Early, expanding erythema migrans with nodule.

    Multiple rashes, disseminated infection

    Early disseminated Lyme disease multiple lesions with dusky centers.

    Red, oval plaque

    Red, expanding oval-shaped plaque on trunk.

    Expanding rash with central clearing

    Circular, expanding rash with central clearing.

    Bluish hued rash, no central clearing

    Bluish hued without central clearing.

    Expanding lesion, no central clearing

    Expanding lesion without central clearing on back of knee.

    Red-blue lesion with central clearing

    Red-blue lesion with some central clearing on back of knee.

    Insect bite hyper-sensitivity

    Large itchy rash caused by an allergic reaction to an insect bite.

    Fixed drug reaction

    Description:A skin condition that occurs up to two weeks after a person takes a medication. The skin condition reappears at the same location every time a person takes that particular medication.

    Ringworm

    Description:Ringworm is a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. Its called ringworm because it can cause a ring-shaped rash that is usually red and itchy with raised edges.

    Pityriasis rosea rash

    Testing For Kidney Disease

    Lyme disease and other tick

    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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    What Can I Do To Protect My Pet Against Lyme Disease

    You can help protect your pet from becoming infected with Lyme disease by:

  • using a tick preventive.
  • avoiding wooded or grassy areas and stick to trails.
  • performing daily tick checks and removing any ticks that you may find
  • discussing the Lyme vaccine with your veterinarian for dogs living in high-risk areas.
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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.

    SINCLAIR STAMMERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY https://www.sciencephoto.com/media/263611/view

    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.

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    Lyme Disease Test And Treatment

    If you think you may have Lyme disease, contact your physician right away.

    Your doctor may do a test for Lyme disease. The FDA regulates diagnostic tests to ensure that they are safe and effective. Its important to know that blood tests that check for antibodies to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease are not useful if done soon after a tick bite. It typically takes 2 to 5 weeks after a tick bite for initial antibodies to develop.

    For this reason, your doctor may recommend treatment with antibiotics before the diagnostic tests are complete. According to the CDC, patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely.

    Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    Lyme Disease, Animation

    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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    Can Lyme Disease Be Detected By A Blood Test

    In a word: yes!

    A blood test does not only detect Lyme disease it is the most accurate and preferred test for diagnosing the disease. If a patient with Lyme disease shows signs that the central nervous system has been affected by the disease, western blot testing on the cerebrospinal fluid can be performed. If ordering from Walk-In Lab, a doctors note is not needed. Just pick your Lyme disease test and place your order online.

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    How Do You Know If Your Lyme Disease Is Treated And Finished

    Patients ask me this question all the time. We diagnose the disease, we treat with antibiotics, or herbs, or homeopathics. We feel better. We stop the treatment. And either we continue to feel better, or we relapse and have to start all over again.

    Is there no way to test whether the spirochete is gone?

    The Lyme disease.org website has an excellent article ondiagnosis of Lyme disease.

    The National Geographic website has a good description of the deer tick, and thehistory of Lyme disease.

    Standard Lyme testing includes the following:

    • ELISA or IFA test
    • If that test is positive, then a Western Blot test is run
    • If 5 out of the 10 possible Lyme bands are positive, you are diagnosed with Lyme disease
    • If fewer than 5 of the 10 possible bands are positive, you are diagnosed as negative.

    Not all the bands which appear on a Western blot are specific to Lyme disease even though one ofthose non-specific bands is required by the CDC for diagnosis.

    Two of the bands which are specific to Lyme disease are not on the CDC list of bands required to be positive.

    How much sense does that make?

    For more detailed information about the IFA and Western blot testing, check out theIGeneX website.

    There is another test that can give us an idea whether the Lyme disease is actually gone out of our systems. This is an inflammatory marker, so it tells us whether there is continued inflammation or whether that inflammation is no longer present.

    Bottom line:

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    Late Lyme Disease Symptoms

  • Have you had any of the following symptoms typical of late or chronic Lyme disease?
  • New onset fatigue, widespread pain, sleep disturbance, and cognitive impairment are common symptoms of late Lyme disease. Many symptoms of late or chronic Lyme disease are non-specific and common among diseases. What sets Lyme patients apart is the severity of symptoms and the degree of functional impairment. Patients report pain at the severity of post-operative patients, fatigue at the level of patients with multiple sclerosis, and functional impairment comparable to those with congestive heart failure. Most patients with chronic Lyme disease report one or more of the following symptoms as severe or very severe: fatigue , sleep impairment , joint pain , muscle aches , other pain , depression , cognitive impairment , neuropathy , headaches and heart-related issues . Chronic Lyme patients generally report more than one symptom and average three severe or very severe symptoms.
  • What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    Pin by Danielle Moore on Lyme Disease

    Early symptoms of Lyme disease start between 3 to 30 days after an infected tick bites you. The symptoms can include:

    • A red rash called erythema migrans . Most people with Lyme disease get this rash. It gets bigger over several days and may feel warm. It is usually not painful or itchy. As it starts to get better, parts of it may fade. Sometimes this makes the rash look like a “bull’s-eye.”
    • Muscle and joint aches
    • Swollen lymph nodes

    If the infection is not treated, it can spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system. The symptoms may include:

    • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
    • Additional EM rashes on other areas of your body
    • Facial palsy, which is a weakness in your facial muscles. It can cause drooping on one or both sides of your face.
    • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, especially in your knees and other large joints
    • Pain that comes and goes in your tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
    • Heart palpitations, which are feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, pounding, or beating too hard or too fast
    • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet

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    How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented

    In areas where ticks are found, people should know about the risk of Lyme disease and should take precautions to protect themselves. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease so it can be detected and treated promptly. PHAC states that removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours after the tick bite usually prevents infection.

  • Know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
  • Contact a doctor immediately if you have an illness that resembles Lyme disease. If you were able to save the tick, bring it to your medical appointment as it may help the doctor.
  • PHAC has also prepared a Lyme disease tool kit which provides material to raise awareness and educate.

    How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease

    One of the most important steps you can take is using an insect repellant with Deet outdoors. Check for ticks on yourself, your kid, and your pets and remove them promptly. You can also reduce tick habitats by mowing and clearing brush. Finally, treating outdoor spaces with insecticide can help in many cases. However, this may have environmental downsides, so research the products used.

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    Can Infection Be Spread Directly From One Dog To Another Dog Or From My Dog To My Family

    Direct spread of Lyme disease from one dog to another dog has not been reported, even when infected and uninfected dogs have lived together for long periods.

    Spread of Lyme disease from dogs to people has not been reported either, but people are equally at risk for Lyme disease if they are bitten by an infected tick.

    Who’s At Risk Of Lyme Disease

    My Puppy Got Lyme Disease & I Didn’t Treat It…

    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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    What Is A Tick

    • A tick is a parasite that is 3 to 5 mm in size. They are so small that it can be hard to spot them immediately.
    • They are the most common trouble for pets, especially the ones that roam outside more often.
    • They feed on animals blood. Often time they go unnoticed because of their small size and painless bites.
    • There are also different types of ticks. A deer tick is a common kind in the United States.

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    What Is Lyme Disease

    This bacterial infection is spread through the bite of a young deer tick or black-legged tick. These eight-legged creatures, about the size of a poppy seed, can be found in wooded and grassy areas throughout the United States, especially in New England and the Rocky Mountains.

    Because these ticks are so small, most people donât realize when theyâre bitten. But the longer a tick stays attached to you, the more likely it is to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi , if the tick is a carrier.

    If not found and treated, Lyme disease can lead to problems with your joints, heart, and nervous system. It can even affect your memory.

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    Other Canine Diseases Carried By Ticks

    Ticks can also carry several other less common but serious bacterial diseases affecting dogs, including anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

    Anaplasmosis can involve symptoms similar to those for Lyme disease. Babesiosis can present with a wide range of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressing infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases includes blood tests similar to those used to check for Lyme disease.

    Sometimes, dogs and people can become sick with co-infection of multiple tick-borne diseases, where more than one type of disease-causing bacteria is transmitted through a tick bite. This situation can make diagnosis and treatment even more challenging and difficult.

    Unexplained Pain And Other Sensations

    How to Spot Lyme Disease

    Some people with Lyme may have sharp rib and chest pains that send them to the emergency room, suspecting a heart problem 00090-7/abstract%20″ rel=”nofollow”> 27).

    When no problem is found, after the usual testing, the ER diagnosis is noted as an unidentified musculoskeletal cause.

    You can also have strange sensations like skin tingling or crawling, or numbness or itchiness 00090-7/abstract%20″ rel=”nofollow”> 27).

    Other symptoms have to do with cranial nerves.

    • Ear-ringing . Tinnitus can be a nuisance, especially at bedtime when it seems to get louder as youre trying to fall asleep. About 10 percent of people with Lyme experience this (
    • Hearing loss. One study reported that 15 percent of Lyme patients experienced loss of hearing .
    • Jaw pain or toothaches that are not related to actual tooth decay or infection.

    Summary:

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    Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions

    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 thehighly 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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