What Is An At
An at-home Lyme disease test will typically be a blood finger prick test.
If you have been exposed to the bacteria Borrelia that leads to the infection of Lyme disease, your body will have created two antibodies to fight it off. The test will look for the presence of both types of antibodies, known as immunoglobulin M and immunoglobulin G .
You will receive your test kit along with account information so that you can get your test results as soon as theyre ready. Follow the manufacturers instructions exactly as they are described.
Each test has different instructions, so its very important to read the kits detailed information before getting started.
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.
The Main Controversies Surrounding Lyme Disease
The blood test the CDC recommends to diagnose Lyme checks for an immune response to the bacteria, not for the Borrelia itself. Thats why the test can be negative if the disease is present for less than a month. It takes at least a couple of weeks to mount an immune response that would turn the test positive. It is easier to diagnose Lyme if you have the classic bulls-eye rash that shows up a few days after the tick bite. In these cases, testing is not even necessary. But the rash only shows up in 80% of cases.
If making a diagnosis can be complex, the controversy about the treatment is so intense that some have even coined the dispute Lyme wars. The clash emerged from doctors offices, and spread to public hearings in statehouses around the country. One of the main points of contention is the duration of antibiotic treatment not only for acute Lyme but also for PTLD. The evidence to recommend a specific length of antibiotics treatment is scarce. Most physicians follow the two- to-four-week treatment the CDC recommends. Some studies funded by the National Institutes of Health did not show any benefit when patients used several months of antibiotics. However, there is anecdotal evidence from a few patients who improved after months of antibiotic treatment. The naysayers believe this is probably due to a placebo effect.
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Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.
It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s also no agreed treatment.
Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.
The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:
- referral for a care needs assessment
- telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
- communicating with children and families’ social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
What If Lyme Disease Goes Untreated
If Lyme disease goes untreated, it can affect other systems in the body. According to the , common symptoms of later stage Lyme disease include:
- severe headaches and neck stiffness
- additional erythema migrans rashes on other areas of the body
- facial palsy, which is a loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face
- arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly in the knees and other large joints
- intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
- episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- nerve pain
- shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
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What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. You get it when the blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, bites you and stays attached for 36 to 48 hours. If you remove the tick within 48 hours, you probably wonât get infected.
When you do get infected, the bacteria travel through your bloodstream and affect various tissues in your body. If you donât treat Lyme disease early on, it can turn into an inflammatory condition that affects multiple systems, starting with your skin, joints, and nervous system and moving to organs later on.
The chances you might get Lyme disease from a tick bite depend on the kind of tick, where you were when it bit you, and how long the tick was attached to you. Youâre most likely to get Lyme disease if you live in the Northeastern United States. The upper Midwest is also a hot spot. But the disease now affects people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
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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.
Potential Treatment For Lyme Disease Kills Bacteria That May Cause Lingering Symptoms Study Finds
Screening thousands of drugs, Stanford scientists determined that in mice, azlocillin, an antibiotic approved by the Food and Drug Administration, eliminated the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Deer ticks are vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.Scott Bauer/USDA Agricultural Research Service
For decades, the routine treatment for Lyme disease has been standard antibiotics, which usually kill off the infection. But for up to 20% of people with the tick-borne illness, the antibiotics dont work, and lingering symptoms of muscle pain, fatigue and cognitive impairment can continue for years sometimes indefinitely.
A new Stanford Medicine study in lab dishes and mice provides evidence that the drug azlocillin completely kills off the disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi at the onset of the illness. The study suggests it could also be effective for treating patients infected with drug-tolerant bacteria that may cause lingering symptoms.
This compound is just amazing, said Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory at the Stanford School of Medicine. It clears the infection without a lot of side effects. We are hoping to repurpose it as an oral treatment for Lyme disease. Rajadas is the senior author of the study, which was published online March 2 in Scientific Reports. The lead author is research associate Venkata Raveendra Pothineni, PhD.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary from person to person after being bitten by a tick.
Lyme disease occurs in stages. The signs and symptoms of each stage can overlap. In some people, Lyme disease may present in a later stage without a history of prior signs or symptoms.
The most commonly reported sign of Lyme disease is an expanding skin rash that typically begins at the site of the tick bite. This rash is called erythema migrans. It slowly grows to more than 5 cm in diameter over several days, and can sometimes:
- be circular or oval-shaped
- look like a target or bull’s eye
- go unnoticed, especially if it’s on:
- dark skin
- a part of the body that’s difficult to see
Some people may not develop a rash.
Other early signs and symptoms include:
If left untreated, the infection could spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.
Images of erythema migrans rash
Image 1Footnote a: A rash that looks like a bull’s eye at the site of a tick bite.
Image 2Footnote a: An oval-shaped red rash.
Image 3Footnote a: A red rash that has expanded across the width of a limb.
Image 4Footnote a: A red rash and blisters on a forearm.
Image 5Footnote b: A rash on a shoulder.
Image 6Footnote c: A rash on the back of a knee.
- Footnote a
Later symptoms of Lyme disease can appear days to months after an infected tick bite, and may include:
- more rashes
- migratory pain that spreads in the:
Dos And Donts Of Getting Help
If you think you may have this syndrome, experts suggest these tips:
Donât assume. Tell your doctor your symptoms, and let her check you.
Donât rush to a specialist. For an accurate diagnosis, start with a primary care doctor, says Eugene Shapiro, MD. He’s a professor of pediatrics, epidemiology, and investigative medicine at Yale School of Public Health.
Do take your antibiotic as prescribed. Even if you feel better, continue the course. Itâs 4 weeks of medications at most. Some experts believe stopping the drugs before your prescription ends may cause symptoms to linger.
Do find experts who can help your symptoms. Ask your doctor if it would be worth your while to visit naturopaths, traditional Chinese medicine doctors, psychologists, or other experts. Many medical centers have complementary and alternative medicine experts on site.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Prompt treatment for Lyme disease reduces the risk of lingering symptoms and complications. If youve already been treated with antibiotics but continue to experience issues, talk to your healthcare provider to determine if additional treatment is necessary. Patience and proactive communication with your healthcare professional will help you get back to your usual state of health.
Lyme Disease: Resolving The Lyme Wars
- By , Contributor
Its finally getting warm here in New England, and most of us have plans to enjoy the beautiful weather. And thats why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report raising awareness about how to prevent the tickborne infections that typically occur during this time of the year. Lyme disease is probably the most well-known, and the one for which diagnosis and treatment are most controversial.
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Why Are Antibiotics The First Line Of Treatment For Lyme Disease
The use of antibiotics is critical for treating Lyme disease. Without antibiotic treatment, the Lyme disease causing bacteria can evade the host immune system, disseminate through the blood stream, and persist in the body. Antibiotics go into the bacteria preferentially and either stop the multiplication of the bacteria or disrupt the cell wall of the bacteria and kill the bacteria . By stopping the growth or killing the bacteria the human host immune response is given a leg up to eradicate the residual infection. Without antibiotics, the infection in Lyme disease can evade the host immune system and more readily persist.
Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
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
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
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 Do I Do If I Find A Tick On My Skin
Dont panic. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible. Pull up with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick body. Sometimes parts of the tick remain in the skin. You can leave them alone or carefully remove them the same way you would a splinter. Do not use heat , petroleum jelly, or other methods to try to make the tick back out on its own. These methods are not effective.
Wash the area where the tick was attached thoroughly with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area for a few weeks and note any changes. Call your doctor if you develop a rash around the area where the tick was attached. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened.
Lyme Disease Natural Treatment Safety
If you decide to explore natural treatments for Lyme disease, talk to your doctor about the risks beforehand. Natural treatments, just like traditional treatments, can still be toxic or dangerous. But in combination with medical treatment, a complementary approach might improve health.
For example, a product called bismacine contains an injectable form of bismuth. This is a type of metal thats a common ingredient in some digestive aids. But bismacine contains a higher dose of bismuth thats injectable. Injecting a high dose of bismuth can cause bismuth poisoning, which can lead to heart and kidney failure.
Other natural treatments may interact with other medications or supplements you take. Your doctor can help you confirm whether any medications you currently take will interact with treatment youre interested in trying.
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What Is The Treatment For Lyme Disease
The first-line standard of care treatment for adults with Lyme disease is doxycycline, a tetracycline antibiotic. Other antibiotics that have activity against borrelia include the penicillin-like antibiotic, amoxicillin, and the second generation cephalosporin, Ceftin. The mainstay of treatment is with oral antibiotics, but intravenous antibiotics are sometimes indicated for more difficult to treat cases of neurologic-Lyme disease, such as meningitis, and cases of late Lyme arthritis.
What To Expect At Home
Home care for dogs with Lyme disease is relatively straightforward. Doxycycline is usually given by mouth twice daily for at least 30 days. Improvement in the dogs symptoms should be noted within 24-48 hours. If the dogs condition fails to improve in 72 hours or worsens at any time, call your veterinarian.
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How Long Does Lyme Disease Last
Lyme disease symptoms can begin anywhere from three to 30 days after transmission of the infection from a tick. If treated early on with antibiotics, most people feel better within a few weeks, said Dr. Zemel.
According to the CDC, it’s not uncommon for people to experience lingering symptoms like fatigue and joint or muscle pain for a few weeks or months after treatment. Additional antibiotics won’t help these symptoms, however, and most people improve on their own over time.
In a small percentage of cases, people continue to experience symptoms for more than six months after their recommended course of antibiotics is completed. This is sometimes referred to as chronic Lyme disease, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases but that name is misleading, said Dr. Kuritzkes, because there is no evidence that the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is still present in the body. Instead, the CDC refers to this condition as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .
“As with many other kinds of infectious diseases, some people are left with some debilitating symptoms that don’t go away,” said Dr. Kuritzkes. “I like to compare it to polio: Some people who had polio are left paralyzed, but that doesn’t mean they have chronic polio they have permanent damage from the infection, even after it’s gone away.”
Treatment For Lyme Starts One Year Or More After Tick Bite
In my opinion and experience, only a rare person in this group goes on to cure Lyme disease. Most people go into remission. In remission, the germs still live in a person, but the immune system keeps them under control.
About 85 to 90% of people treated with long term antibiotics and methods to boost the immune system, can go into remission. For the best chance of reaching remission I suggest following the first 12 steps in The Ross Lyme Support Protocol. These steps
- get rid of coinfections,
- support the adrenal and thyroid glands, and
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Lyme Disease Antibiotic Treatment Research
For early Lyme disease, a short course of oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, cures the majority of cases. In more complicated cases, Lyme disease can usually be successfully treated with three to four weeks of antibiotic therapy.
After being treated for Lyme disease, a minority of patients may still report non-specific symptoms, including persistent pain, joint and muscle aches, fatigue, impaired cognitive function, or unexplained numbness. These patients often show no evidence of active infection and may be diagnosed with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .
Multiple clinical trials, funded by NIH and others, have shown no benefit to additional IV antibiotic treatment in patients with Lyme disease, although the interpretation of those results have been challenged by some.