Some Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms
As mentioned, chronic Lyme disease consists of a broad cluster of physical, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms. Some of these symptoms are much more common, while others almost never occur, but can be deadly. But even the less severe symptoms, such as chronic fatigue and pain, can lead to drastic changes in quality of life for chronic Lyme patients.
Chronic Lyme survivors have reported experiencing the following symptoms for months to years after infection:
- Intermittent fevers, chills, and sweats
- Chronic inflammation
- Numbness and tingling in the limbs
- Dizziness and shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Multiple-chemical sensitivities
Chronic Lyme disease can be linked to deadly symptoms, such as Lyme carditis .
According to Lymedisease.org, studies consistently show that chronic Lyme disease patients have poorer quality of life than those with other chronic diseases. One of their own studies showed that 75% of surveyed patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe.
Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Acute And Late Stage Lyme
One reason chronic Lyme disease is harder to detect and treat than Lyme at earlier stages is that chronic Lyme disease symptoms are more wide-ranging and varied. Chronic Lyme disease can cause symptoms of early Lyme disease such as fatigue and muscle aches to recur, but it can also cause new symptoms that affect different parts of the body.
Possible Complications To Watch For With Lyme Disease
Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dogs condition.
- Some dogs who take antibiotics can develop loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Once infected, a dog will always have the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in his or her body. Therefore, relapses are possible, and owners should be on the lookout for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/or lameness.
- A small percentage of dogs develop kidney failure as a result of Lyme disease. Clinical signs include vomiting, weight loss, poor appetite, lethargy, increased thirst and urination, and abnormal accumulations of fluid within the body.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Lyme Disease
Despite some skepticism in the medical community, chronic Lyme disease is a growing epidemic in the U.S. This stems partly from the shortcomings of many of the officially recommended Lyme disease tests, which leave too many patients with untreated infections that then become persistent and debilitating.
The following article will cover what you should know about chronic Lyme and provide an introductory but non-exhaustive chronic Lyme disease symptoms checklist.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Your doctor will diagnose you based on your symptoms and whether youâve been exposed to a tick. They might also run a blood test. In the first few weeks of infection, the test may be negative because antibodies take a few weeks to show up.
Hopefully soon, there will be tests that can diagnose Lyme disease in the first few weeks after youâre exposed. The earlier you get treated, the less likely itâll get worse.
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Your Vet Is Your Best Ally For Preventing Lyme Disease In Your Dog
One thing all vets agree upon is this: the best protection against tick-borne disease is not vaccination but diligent tick control. As we discussed in Part I of this blog series, ticks often carry more than one disease, and vaccines do not exist against most of them.I encourage you to talk to your veterinarian about your dogs Lyme risk. I would never want recommend something different than what he or she believes to be best for your dog. But if hasnt already been resolved, this question needs to be addressed at your dogs next wellness visit:
Does my dog need a Lyme vaccine?
Lyme vaccine is considered a non-core vaccination. This means that its not recommended for all dogs, unlike the core vaccines which protect against common diseases like parvo, distemper, and rabies.
If you live in an apartment in New York City, and your dog goes out to the curb to the bathroom and back in, Im not going to recommend a Lyme vaccine for your dog. Even a dog that lives in suburban America, but spends time exclusively on a well-manicured lawn, may not need the vaccine.
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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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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
With early-stage Lyme disease, youâll take antibiotics for about 10 days to 3 weeks. The most common ones are amoxicillin, cefuroxime, and doxycycline. The antibiotics will almost always cure your infection. If they donât, you might get other antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot.
If you donât treat your Lyme infection, you might need oral antibiotics for symptoms like weakened face muscles and irregular heartbeat. You may need antibiotics if you have meningitis, inflammation in your brain and spinal cord, or more severe heart problems.
If your Lyme is late stage, the doctor might give you antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot. If it causes arthritis, youâll get arthritis treatment.
Thereâs no therapy for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
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:
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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Lyme Disease Without Tick Bites Read My Story
Firstly, I suffered from Lyme disease, yet I was never bitten by a tick. After struggling for some time with thyroid and adrenal fatigue problems, I got to a point where I felt stuck again and was not moving forward with my health. Although my body temperature was back up to standard and my adrenal glands and thyroid had improved significantly, I still felt exhausted.
I started to dig deeper, and it turned out that I had a few infections: Lyme disease, Borreliosis, and Epstein-Barr. I went to the United States for treatment at a detox clinic, which lasted three months. After the detox treatment, I continued to adapt to my health routine. I added ozone treatments and decided to move to a sunny and warmer country to improve my overall health and energy.
Signs Of Lyme Disease That Appear On Your Skin
Signs of Lyme disease
If you see a rash or another sign of Lyme disease on your skin, see your primary doctor right away. When caught early and treated, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics and most people recover fully.
Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a black-legged tick. If you are bitten by this tick and develop Lyme disease, you may see a bulls-eye rash. Its a common sign of Lyme disease, but its not the only sign.
Lyme disease occurs in stages. Heres what you may see on your skin during each stage.
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Most Of The Tick Control Products We Use Dont Repel Ticks
There are many good options for flea and tick preventatives on the market. Thereâs the Lyme vaccine. Thereâs the more old-school route of tick collars. And there are perhaps the most commonly used monthly topical and oral options.
If youâre one of the countless pet owners who gives their dog a chewable medication or squirts a preventative oil on their skin, you might be surprised to learn that neither of those tick control tactics actually repel the little bloodsuckers from your dogâs body.
âOwners come to us and say, âWell, you know, weâre using this flea and stuff, but we still see ticks on our dog,’â recalls Bloom, who practices veterinary medicine in a heavily wooded section of New Jersey. âMost of these flea and tick products will not actually repel the tick, will not keep the tick from walking onto your dog, and will not keep the tick from biting your dog. What theyâll do is theyâll kill the tick after the tick has bitten.â
And it turns out, thatâs perfectly fine.
âIf a tick bites your dog, it can transmit the bacteria, but only if it stays attached,â Bloom elaborates. âIf the tick is killed with less than 24 hours attachment to your dog, it wonât transmit disease.â
If youâre concerned about ticks hitching a ride into your house, though, there are some products that do physically repel ticks a tick collar, for example. But Goldstein argues thatâs not always in your familyâs best interest.
Diagnosis Of Monocytic Ehrlichiosis Bacterialinfection
Lab tests are used to diagnose this type of lyme disease.Testing often shows a decrease in your dogâs platelet count, the bloodcells that cause clotting , low red blood cell counts and lower white blood cell count . Yourveterinarian may also find enlarged lymph nodes and higher than normalliver enzyme counts.
Treatment of Ehrlichiosis Bacterial Infection
Antibiotics are used to treat this type of lymedisease for 3 weeks. If your dog has asevere case then treatment can last 1 year. If your dog has a severecase then your veterinarian may recommend a blood transfusion. Dogswith this problem are expected to make a full recovery. In some casesthe prognosis is not as good if all parts of the blood are affected.Similar concerns exist if your dog has a heart deformity or bone marrow disease .
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Causes Of Lyme Disease In Cats
Cats get Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Immature ticks get the bacteria when they are feeding in the fall. The bacteria spreads to cats through the saliva in the ticks bite, where the Borrelia quickly replicate on the skin and migrate through the cats tissues.
Ticks must be attached for 24 to 48 hours before Borrelia is transmitted. Therefore, tick preventatives have time to kill the tick before it can transmit the bacteria, which is why keeping all cats on flea and tick preventatives is so important. There are many options of tick control in cats.
Arthritis Caused By Lyme Disease
There are many causes for arthritis, and your veterinarian will focus on differentiating arthritis initiated by Lyme disease from other inflammatory arthritic disorders, such as trauma and degenerative joint disease.
Immune-mediated diseases will also be considered as a possible cause of the symptoms. X-rays of the painful joints will allow your doctor to examine the bones for abnormalities.
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Lyme Disease And Hair Loss: Is There A Connection
Lyme disease and hair loss can be connected
For starters, in this article, you can discover how Lyme Disease and hair loss may be related. Second, Lyme disease is a severe illness that can be hard to diagnose and can even cause hair loss. Moreover, its symptoms mimic those of other conditions, like ALS, hair loss, and multiple sclerosis .
Also, Lyme disease and hair loss can be caused by the bite of a single, infected tick. It brings with it a list of horrifying symptoms and the road to recovery is long.
One of the symptoms of Lyme disease is hair loss.
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:
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Activities That Expose You To Lyme Disease
So, if you spend a lot of time in the outdoors, enjoying activities like gardening, hiking, hunting, etc. you could be at risk of being exposed to Lyme disease. This is especially true if you are in a region known as Lyme disease areas or walk through tall grass.
In addition, pets that spend a lot of time outside or play off the leash could carry ticks home on their bodies.
What Do You Do If There’s A Tick Under Your Skin
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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Treatment Of Lyme Disease In Cats
While veterinarians use a few medications to treat Lyme disease, the gold standard is the antibiotic doxycycline. However, not all cats can tolerate this antibiotic. Antibiotics are typically prescribed for 30 days, but cats may need more courses in the future to safeguard against flare-ups.
Pet parents should use caution when using doxycycline in cats. In the tablet form, it can cause esophageal stricturesor narrowing, scar-like formations in the esophagusif it gets stuck. Many veterinarians use liquid doxycycline or follow the tablet with a good amount of water.
Some cats may be helped by non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or other pain relief medications while they are in acute pain from Lyme disease. Typically, animals start feeling better within one or two doses of antibiotics. If cats do not rapidly improve, other diagnoses should be considered.
While most cats can be treated on an outpatient basis, some may need IV fluid therapy, kidney medications, anti-nausea medications, and nutritional support during acute crises. They may require long-term hospitalization for severe cases affecting internal organs.
Why Is Treating Early Key
The Key to treating Lyme disease is getting the right diagnosis. If youre showing Lyme disease symptoms, its important to seek treatment as soon as possible. If youre diagnosed with Lyme disease and treated early, your hair loss could be completely reversible. However, if left untreated for too long, your hair loss could become permanent.
If you are suffering from hair loss and think it may be due to Lyme disease, its important to get tested for the disease as quickly as possible. Your doctor can help you find the best course of action for treating the condition and preventing any further damage to your health.
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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:
Signs and symptoms of untreated Lyme disease. Page last updated October 26, 2016. Last accessed May 2, 2018.
Lyme disease: transmission. Page lasted updated March 4, 2015. Last accessed May 2, 2018.