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Initial Signs Of Lyme Disease

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What Do You Do If Theres A Tick Under Your Skin

Early Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

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.

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.

Lyme Disease Symptoms To Watch For According To Doctors

Knowing the symptoms to look for can help diagnose Lyme disease early on, when it’s easily treatable.

Fever or fatigue, with or without a rash, can be a symptom of many thingsand Lyme disease is just one possibility. To diagnose Lyme, doctors say they have to consider symptoms and circumstances. If youve been hanging out in wooded or grassy areas, especially in certain regions of the country during the spring, summer, or even autumn months, it might make sense to entertain the possibility that you were bitten by a tick. And whats the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in America? Its Lyme disease, by far.

But Timothy P. Flanagan, MD, associate professor of medicine in the infectious diseases division at Brown Universitys Alpert Medical School, says it would be a mistake to latch on to a Lyme diagnosis without ruling out other possible causes, including other infections transmitted by ticks. You could have a different tick-borne infection entirely, such as anaplasmosis or babesiosis, or you could have Lyme with one or more co-infections. Thats because the same ticks that transmit Borrelia can carry other disease-causing microbes, too.

Its super important that we think of all the tick-borne diseasesnot just Lyme, Dr. Flanagan tells Health. Babesia, a parasite that causes babesiosis, is treated differently than Borrelia, for example.

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How To Avoid Getting A Tick Bite

You might be at risk if you live, work in, or visit a wooded area, or an area with tall grasses and bushes .

You may also be at risk if you are involved in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and gardening.

You may be bitten by a tick and not even know it.

Heres what you can do to avoid getting a tick bite.

What To Do If You Have A Blacklegged Tick Bite

Lyme Disease Treatment Child

Remove the tick by pulling it directly out with fine-tipped tweezers. Lift upward with slow and even pressure. Dont twist when removing it. Dont crush it or put soap or other substances on it. Dont apply heat to it.

Place the tick in a resealable container. See if you can identify what kind of a tick it is.

Immediately after removing the tick, wash your skin well with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.

Not all ticks carry Lyme. The Lyme bacteria is transmitted only by blacklegged ticks in their nymph or adult stage.

Save the tick to show your doctor. The doctor will want to determine if its a blacklegged tick and if theres evidence of feeding. Ticks enlarge as they feed. Your risk of getting Lyme from an infected tick increases with the length of time that the tick fed on your blood.

Summary:

Pull the tick out with tweezers and save it in a resealable container for identification.

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When Should I Go See My Doctor

Anyone who has been bitten by a black-legged deer tick is at risk for Lyme disease. The highest risk groups include those living in or visiting endemic areas, especially people who spend significant time outdoors such as gardeners, hikers, or outdoor workers.

Patients should seek advice from their doctor if they have a suspicious round expanding red skin lesion, and/or show signs of summer-flu, particularly during Lyme disease season, which is highest-risk late spring through July/August. If those circumstances apply or symptoms persist it is very important to go to a physician.

For the west coast and other more temperate regions Lyme disease can be a year-round concern.

In the later disseminated stages, Lyme disease can be a much more insidious and complex illness. An individual should seek medical care if experiencing symptoms such as prolonged fevers, unexplained fatigue, painful joints, new or unusual headache, or heart or neurologic symptoms. If unexplained viral-like symptoms last for more than 1-2 weeks, please seek the advice of a physician.

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.

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What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection

There are three stages:

  • Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
  • Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
  • Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.

About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.

Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.

Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented

Early Vs. Late Lyme Disease Symptoms

To prevent Lyme disease, you should lower your risk of getting a tick bite:

  • Avoid areas where ticks live, such as grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. If you are hiking, walk in the center of the trail to avoid brush and grass.
  • Use an insect repellent with DEET
  • Treat your clothing and gear with a repellant containing 0.5% permethrin
  • Wear light-colored protective clothing, so you can easily see any ticks that get on you
  • Wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants. Also tuck your shirt into your pants and your pant legs into your socks.
  • Check yourself, your children, and your pets daily for ticks. Carefully remove any ticks you find.
  • Take a shower and wash and dry your clothes at high temperatures after being outdoors

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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New Therapeutic/treatment Options On The Horizon

A relatively new technology called high throughput drug screening enables researchers to place Lyme bacteria in an array of tiny wells and expose them to thousands of FDA-approved chemical compounds and drugs to see which ones are best at killing the microbes. The best and safest drug candidates are then retested in live mice, and, eventually, in humans. This process saves the time and money associated with large human clinical trials and speeds up the regulatory approval process.

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:

  • Fever

  • 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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What Happens At Your Appointment

The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.

2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.

You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.

Key Points To Remember

4 Common Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Adults
  • 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.

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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease

Most of the people who get Lyme disease and treated early will be fine.

Post-Lyme Syndrome

Even after proper treatment, some patients may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This does not signify ongoing infection and will not respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms resolve over the next 1-6 months.

Chronic Lyme Syndrome

Chronic Lyme syndrome is a term used by some that includes the symptoms of Post-Lyme syndrome outlined above. This is a controversial topic with no accepted etiology and no proven cause or association.

Lyme Disease: Signs And Symptoms

This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: .

Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.

This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lyme-disease-signs-and-symptoms/lyme-disease-signs-and-symptoms

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Unexplained Pain And Other Sensations

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:

Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease

CDC: How to spot signs, symptoms of Lyme disease

Late disseminated Lyme disease occurs when the infection hasnt been treated in stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 can occur months or years after the tick bite.

This stage is characterized by:

  • arthritis of one or more large joints
  • brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, which can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, problems with following conversations and sleep disturbance
  • numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet

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Should I Get Tested By The Nhs Or A Privately Funded Laboratory Is There A Difference

If patients have a recent tick exposure but no bullâs eye rash, guidance to NHS doctors in England is to take a blood sample and send it for testing at an NHS or UKHSA laboratory. The tests work by looking for antibodies that a person infected with Lyme disease would produce.

The antibodies take some time to reach levels that can be detected, therefore, tests carried out within the first four weeks of infection may be negative and may need to be repeated on a fresh blood sample taken four to six weeks after the first test.

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The UKHSA recommends that people exercise caution with private tests and speak to their NHS doctor for advice before spending money on private tests or treatments, as some private laboratories and clinics offer tests and treatments for Lyme disease which may not be supported by scientific evidence.

Diagnostic tests done outside the NHS may also produce false positives where the test shows positive for Lyme disease when the patient does not actually have it.

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:

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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.

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.

How To Remove Ticks

7 Early Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Tick bites aren’t always painful. You may not notice a tick unless you see it on your skin. Check your skin and your children’s or pets’ skin after being outdoors.

To remove a tick:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool. You can buy these from some pharmacies, vets and pet shops.
  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  • Slowly pull upwards, taking care not to squeeze or crush the tick. Dispose of it when you’ve removed it.
  • Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water.
  • The risk of getting ill is low. You don’t need to do anything else unless you become unwell.

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