Regression And Other Symptoms In Children
Children are the largest population of Lyme patients.
The CDC study of reported Lyme cases from 19922006 found that the incidence of new cases was highest among 5- to 14-year-olds . About one quarter of reported Lyme cases in the United States involve children under 14 years old .
Children can have all the signs and symptoms of Lyme that adults have, but they may have trouble telling you exactly what they feel or where it hurts.
You may notice a decline in school performance, or your childs mood swings may become problematic.
Your childs social and speech skills or motor coordination may regress. Or your child may lose their appetite.
Children are more likely than adults to have arthritis as an initial symptom 01267-2/fulltext#sec0040″ rel=”nofollow”> 25).
In a 2012 Nova Scotian study of children with Lyme, 65 percent developed Lyme arthritis . The knee was the most commonly affected joint.
How Can I Get Lyme Disease
Most commonly Lyme Disease is acquired from the bite of an infected black-legged tick. In the United States, two types of black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis in the Northeast and upper Midwest and Ixodes pacificus in the West, transmit Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferisensu stricto. Black-legged ticks in other parts of the world transmit B. burgdorferi and several other Borrelia species.
Black-legged ticks are also known to transmit Borellia miyamotoi and Borrelia mayonii, two bacteria that cause Lyme-like illnesses. The lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum is the vector or STARI, a Lyme-like illness of uncertain cause.
Ixodes ticks vary in size from a poppy-seed size nymphal tick to a sesame-seed size adult tick. Ticks can carry other infectious agents besides the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, including Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Babesia, and possibly Bartonella. Infections involving multiple pathogens can be more difficult to diagnose and treat.
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Treatment Of Lyme Disease
Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease is important and can help prevent late Lyme disease. The following treatment regimens reflect CDCs interpretation of the most current data for four important manifestations of Lyme disease. These regimens are consistent with guidanceexternal icon published by the by the Infectious Disease Society of America, American Academy of Neurology, and American College of Rheumatology.
Some patients report persistent symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking even after treatment for Lyme disease. The state of the science relating to persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease is limited, emerging, and unsettled.
Additional researchexternal icon is needed to better understand how to treat, manage, and support people with persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease. In light of these research gaps, recommendations for treatment of persistent symptoms in people previously treated for Lyme disease are not provided here.
If you are interested in information on chronic Lyme diseaseexternal icon, see NIHs website.
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Lyme Disease: How Can My Primary Care Provider Help
In our region, more and more primary care providers are taking Lyme Disease very seriously. You dont necessarily need a high-priced Lyme Disease specialist who doesnt accept insurance. With solid communication, your PCP can help catch and treat Lyme early, leading to positive outcomes. At Comprehensive Primary Care, our providers are highly responsive to potential Lyme Disease cases and ready to combine robust testing with proactive treatment. If you have symptoms or exposure, make an appointment with our primary care team.
Moving Forward With Chronic Illness
Today Tait works as a writer and speaker. Her first book publishing in August, The View from Rock Bottom: Discovering Gods Embrace in our Pain, chronicles her journey with her health and how it impacted her faith. Writing gives her the freedom to work from home, but shes well aware that for many years the financial burden has been on her husband, a software developer.
They recently took a rare vacation to Mexico. It was the first time theyd been on a plane together since their honeymoon more than a decade ago.
Tait has days when she feels strong enough to attend a speaking engagement at a church or play with her kids at the park. But she also has days when she struggles to move her body and relies on her cane.
For Tait, the hardest part is knowing that she would, in all likelihood, be completely healthy today had she just been diagnosed sooner. And the scariest part is knowing that it was all out of her hands.
I was asking for the right tests. I was saying the right things. I was showing up constantly and saying, This isnt working, Im not well. But eventually you start to doubt yourself, when you hear enough times that maybe its all in your head.
Now that she has answers, she can at least begin to move forward.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Signs and symptoms of early Lyme disease typically include:
- A reddish rash or skin lesion known as erythema migraines . The rash starts as a small red spot at the site of the tick bite anywhere from one week after to four weeks after the bite. The spot expands over a period of days or weeks, forming a circular, triangular or oval-shaped rash. The rash may look like a bulls eye because it appears as a red ring that surrounds a clear center area. The rash can range in size from that of a dime to the entire width of a persons back. As infection spreads, several EM rashes can appear at different sites on your body.
Signs and symptoms of the second stage of Lyme disease may include:
- Multiple areas of rash.
- Heart block or an interruption of the electrical system of the heart.
- Areas of numbness or abnormal feelings .
Signs and symptoms of untreated late Lyme disease, which may happen from months to a year after infection, may include:
- Recurring episodes of swollen joints . This typically affects large joints like the knee.
- Difficulty concentrating, known as brain fog. This is a form of encephalopathy or damage to the brain.
- Damage to nerves all over your body, including your skin, muscles and organs .
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How Long Does It Take For Antibiotics To Work For Lyme Disease
Although most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2- to 4-week course of oral antibiotics, patients can sometimes have symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts for more than 6 months after they finish treatment. This condition is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome .
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How Are Dogs Tested For Lyme Disease
Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.
The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called C6. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness.
The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary.
Why Is Lyme Disease So Difficult To Diagnose
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through the bite of infected deer ticks. One common symptom of Lyme is a red rash on the skin , that appears at the site of a tick bite usually within a week, but up to a month later. Some people may not experience a rash, or may mistake it for a spider bite. Other symptoms like fever, chills, headache, fatigue, joint aches and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of a rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If Lyme is not diagnosed immediately, the bacteria start to spread to other parts of the body the joints, the nervous system and the heart. Eventually, arthritis sets in, along with extreme fatigue and general aches and pains. These can also be symptoms of other conditions, which is part of the reason why Lyme is difficult to diagnose. Aside from the initial rash, there are no symptoms that are specifically indicative of Lyme disease.
Theres also no definitive way to test for Lyme disease. There is no direct blood test for the bacteria that causes Lyme. Doctors have to rely on antibody tests, which merely measure the immune systems response to the bacteria. Further complicating matters, studies have shown that those tests arent always accurate and can have poor sensitivity and false results in some cases.
Until a foolproof test exists, diagnosing Lyme disease, especially late-stage Lyme, is an imperfect science.
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Where Do Ticks Live And How Do They Get On Dogs
Ticks that carry Lyme disease are especially likely to be found in tall grasses, thick brush, marshes, and woods especially where deer populations are high. Ticks do not jump but only crawl and in seeking a host, will latch onto your dog when they pass by.
Lyme disease was named after a high number of cases that occurred in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, but cases in dogs have been reported in every state in the United States. However, Lyme disease is more common in some geographical locations specifically, the Northeast, upper Midwest, and northern Pacific coast. Dog owners who live or spend time in these areas should be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, as well as the preventative measures available.
What Tests Are Available For Lyme Disease
When a person becomes infected, the body creates antibodies to protect itself from the bacteria. Certain blood tests are available to measure these antibodies. However, sometimes a false negative test can result if there are not enough antibodies in the blood for the tests to detect accurately. A doctor should also do a complete medical examination and gather information about your recent outdoor activities in order to make a clinical diagnosis for Lyme disease.
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What Should I Do If I Think I Have Lyme Disease
Early detection is essential to avoiding chronic Lyme. If caught early, it can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics. Usually, the rash is a telltale sign. However, since not everyone gets it, providers in our region increasingly treat Lyme based on the possibility of exposure . The CDC recommends two-tier testing using tests measuring the bodys antibody response to infection. The most common tests are the
enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and the Western blot. The CDC recommends the ELISA test as a preliminary screen, followed by confirmation with a Western blot. The Western blot is considered more sensitive than ELISA testing, so many practitioners rely on that test. However, antibody tests usually do not detect disease right after infection, so many providers in our high-Lyme region will start patients on antibiotics directly after exposure or symptoms.
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.
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The Bacteria That Causes Lyme In Humans Doesnt Hurt Ticks In Fact It Might Help Them Survive
University of Rhode Island entomologist Jannelle Couret is tipping the way we understand the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Instead of looking at it from the human perspective, she and an interdisciplinary team of researchers are taking the view of the tick.
While the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi is the pathogen that causes Lyme disease in humans, its presence is quite different in blacklegged ticks that pick up the bacteria from feeding on white-footed mice.
For the ticks, the bacteria doesnt cause disease. It might even be beneficial.
For the next four years, Courets team will research the ecological factors driving the evolution of Borrelia burgdorferi in blacklegged ticks thanks to a $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The grant is part of the prestigious Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease program, run by the NIH, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
I am really interested in the factors that are driving the tick populations, said Couret, an assistant professor of biological studies and the principal investigator on the grant.
Their populations vary year to year. Our preliminary data suggests that the survival of the ticks during some of their early life stages is improved based on whether they host these bacteria.
Stage : Small Oval Rashes Or A Reddish Lump
When a tick that causes Lyme disease bites you, it infects you with bacteria. Without treatment, the bacteria can spread to other areas of your body. Stage 2 begins when the bacteria spread to other parts of your body.
During this stage, you may see small, oval rashes on your skin. Some people develop a bluish-red lump.
Where you see these signs: Because the infection has spread, small rashes can appear anywhere on your skin, except for your palms and soles. Most rashes appear on the arms, legs, and face.
Some people develop a lump, which your doctor may refer to as borrelial lymphocytoma. In children, this lump tends to appear on an earlobe. Adults often see a raised growth form around a nipple.
Borrelial lymphocytoma on a childs ear
This can appear in stage 2 of Lyme disease.
What you may see on your skin: The rashes that appear during stage 2 differ from the rash that can appear in stage 1. In stage 2, the rashes stay the same size rather than grow larger.
When the rashes, lump, and symptoms begin: About 30 to 45 days after the tick bites you, you may notice rashes or a lump. These can also take longer to appear, sometimes six months or more.
Some people develop symptoms, which make them feel ill, including:
Shortness of breath and dizzy spells
Bells palsy, which causes one half of the face to droop
Heart problems, such as chest pains or an irregular heartbeat
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Can Your Body Fight Off Lyme Disease
If left untreated for months or longer, some proportion of those infected end up with significant cognitive, neurological, and cardiac problems. Not everyone gets this sick in fact, its possible in some cases forthough not safe to rely onthe bodys immune system to fight off Lyme disease on its own.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of The Third Stage Of Lyme Disease
Late stage Lyme disease can result when treatment is unsuccessful or started too late due to unrecognized symptoms or misdiagnosis. The late disseminated stage occurs months or years after initial infection and can have a major impact on a patients health and quality of life. Late Lyme arthritis is a third stage Lyme disease manifestation that involves fluid accumulation and pain in joints, particularly in the knee joints. Late neurologic disease is a 3rd stage condition that can also be debilitating and difficult to diagnose. Late disseminated Lyme disease symptoms include a variety of symptoms that are often neurologic in origin including: numbness in extremities, mental fogginess and concentration problems, and difficulty following conversations or processing information.
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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.
What To Expect At The Vets Office
If your pet has been diagnosed with uncomplicated Lyme disease, this is what you can expect to happen at your veterinarians office.
- Depending on the type of test used to screen for Lyme disease, a confirmatory test may be necessary.
- Urine protein screening In general, only dogs who have symptoms of Lyme disease or protein in their urine should be treated with antibiotics.
- Dogs with protein in their urine should have regularly scheduled rechecks to monitor their condition.
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What Abnormal Results Mean
A positive ELISA result is abnormal. This means antibodies were seen in your blood sample. But, this does not confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease. A positive ELISA result must be followed up with a Western blot test. Only a positive Western blot test can confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
For many people, the ELISA test remains positive, even after they have been treated for Lyme disease and no longer have symptoms.
A positive ELISA test may also occur with certain diseases not related to Lyme disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.