Should You Use Antibiotics
Different antibiotics may be used to treat children and adults. The decision to take medicines for Lyme disease may be based on one or more of these factors:
- You have symptoms of Lyme disease, especially the red, circular rash, and a history of exposure to ticks in geographic regions where Lyme disease is known to occur.
- Blood tests show that you have antibodies to the Lyme disease bacteria in your blood, spinal fluid, or joint fluid.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding and are bitten by a tick.
What If I Don’t Feel Better After Treatment
If you’re treated for Lyme disease and don’t feel better after youve finished your treatment, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a longer course of antibiotics or may be able to prescribe another medication to help with symptoms like joint or muscle pain.
You might also want to seek a second opinion, especially if your Lyme disease diagnosis was not initially confirmed via a two-step blood test. If your body has not responded to antibiotics, its possible that something else besides the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is making you sick. In 2017, for example, the CDC reported on a woman who was given antibiotics and herbal remedies to treat her chronic Lyme disease, when she actually hadand eventually died fromamyotrophic lateral sclerosis .
Even if you do recover completely from a Lyme disease diagnosis, your immune system may continue making antibodies to fight Lyme disease bacteria for months or even years after the infection is gone. Those antibodies wont protect you from getting a second Lyme disease infection, however, so be sure to take steps to protect yourself from ticks in the future.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
How old you are
Lyme disease in the earliest stage is usually treated with antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks.
Treatment will also be considered based on these and other factors:
If you are bitten by a tick that tests positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease
If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms
If you are bitten by a tick and are pregnant
If you are bitten by a tick and live in a high-risk area
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Notes On Serological Tests
For patients with illness lasting over a month, only IgG testing should be performed . A positive IgM test alone is not sufficient to diagnose current disease in these patients.
Due to antibody persistence, a positive serological test cannot distinguish between active and past infection.
- should not be done as a test of cure
- cannot be used to measure treatment response
The EIA test:
- may yield false-positive results when used as a stand-alone test
- may cross-react with antibodies to commensal or pathogenic spirochetes
- there may be some viral infections for certain autoimmune diseases
Chronic Lyme Disease Symptom Severity
In LDos chronic Lyme disease survey, over 75% of patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe and 63% reported two or more such symptoms. Find out more about LDo peer-reviewed published surveys. The chart below shows the severity of ten common chronic Lyme symptoms.
The survey also found that patients with chronic Lyme disease have high disability and unemployment rates. Over 40% of patients with chronic Lyme disease reported that they currently are unable to work because of Lyme disease and 24% report that they have received disability at some point in their illness.
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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.
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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Symptoms Of Late Stage Lyme Disease
The CDC reports that late stage Lyme disease may appear days to months after the initial tick bite and may include but are not limited to:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes in new places on the body
- Facial palsy, also known as Bells palsy paralysis of one side of the face
- Arthritis or joint pain and swelling, especially of large joints
- Intermittent tendon, muscle, joint, nerve, or bone pain
- Heart palpitations or arrhythmia
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain or spinal cord
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
As mentioned above, late stage Lyme may also be characterized by the recurrence of early stage symptoms, such as fatigue.
Symptoms Check Out? Get Tested. Get Answers.
Lyme Disease Surveillance In Canada
Lyme disease became a national notifiable disease in December 2009.
Canada continues to monitor the evolving geographic distribution and prevalence of infected ticks and cases of Lyme disease. Therefore, you must report clinically diagnosed or laboratory-confirmed cases to your provincial or territorial public health authorities.
Health professionals in Canada play a critical role in identifying and reporting cases of Lyme disease. See the surveillance section for more information on surveillance in Canada.
Consult the national case definition for additional information.
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Is There A Test For Lyme Disease
Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult as symptoms can vary between individuals and can also be similar to other illnesses. Health care providers use information on symptoms, potential exposure to infected black-legged ticks, and laboratory blood testing to diagnose the disease. Laboratory tests alone may not always detect Lyme disease, especially if it is in the early stages of infection. If an individual develops symptoms of Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick or visiting a known at risk area for Lyme disease, they should see their family doctor right away. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of a successful treatment. For more information about diagnosing Lyme disease visit www.canada.ca/Lymedisease.
Risk Factors For Post
Youre at a greater risk for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome if youre infected by the bite of a diseased tick. If the infection progresses to the chronic stage, your symptoms might continue for weeks, months, or even years after the initial tick bite.
You may also be at a higher risk for these long-term symptoms if youre not treated with the recommended antibiotics. However, even people who receive antibiotic therapy are at risk. Because the cause of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is unknown, theres no way to determine whether it will progress to the chronic stage.
Typically, the symptoms of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome resemble those that occur in earlier stages. People with persistent symptoms often experience lingering episodes of:
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What Are The Long
Lyme disease can cause a host ofdifferent symptoms and ailments, but if caught early, it can be diagnosed andtreated with antibiotics specifically doxycycline. If left untreated, however, Lyme disease canprogress into a very serious condition that can affect a person for the rest oftheir life.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is categorized as a condition lasting over a period of months or evenyears that affects people who have been treated for Lyme disease withantibiotics. The disorder comes with awide array of different issues, including trouble with sleeping, chronicfatigue, and neurological problems such as confusion and even cognitivechanges.
When Should I Call The Doctor
If a tick bites you, call your doctor. Other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s always a good idea to discuss them with your doctor. That way you can get checked and treated, if needed. Call right away if you get a red-ringed rash, lasting flu-like symptoms, joint pain or a swollen joint, or facial paralysis.
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When To See Your Gp
You should see your GP if you develop any of the symptoms above, after being bitten by a tick .
Make sure you let your GP know if you’ve spent time in woodland or heath areas. Diagnosing Lyme disease is often difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions.
A spreading rash some days after a known tick bite should be treated with antibiotics. This is without waiting for the results of a blood test.
Blood tests can be carried out to confirm the diagnosis after a few weeks. These can be negative in the early stages of the infection. You may need to be re-tested if Lyme disease is still suspected after a negative test result.
What Increases Your Risk
The main risk factor for Lyme disease is exposure to ticks that are infected with Lyme disease bacteria. In areas where Lyme disease is widespread, such as the eastern and south-central areas of Canada, southern British Columbia, and northeastern United States, several factors may increase your risk, including:
- Spending time outdoors during the warm months of the year when ticks are most active. This is usually between May and November, with peak activity in June and July.
- Having indoor/outdoor pets. They can bring infected ticks into the house. Although dogs and cats can become infected with the Lyme disease bacteria, they cannot pass the illness to humans. But the infected ticks can drop off the animal and then bite and infect a person.
- Having a stone fence or a bird feeder near your house. Stone fences often become homes for mice, and mice may feed on spilled seed from a bird feeder. Where there are mice, there are ticks.
Remove ticks right away, as soon as you notice them. Your risk for getting Lyme disease increases the longer a tick is attached to your body. Ticks generally cannot transmit Lyme disease until they are attached for at least 36 hours.
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Persistent Symptoms Following Treatment
In most cases, timely treatment according to the appropriate regimen described in the chart above is effective. However, some Lyme disease patients have persistent symptoms following treatment. Research continues into the causes and methods of treatment.
There is no definitive evidence that persistent symptoms represent ongoing infection. Post-infectious inflammation due to damage from the infectious process may respond to anti-inflammatory drugs.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually start three days to one month after being bitten by an infected tick. Although symptoms of Lyme disease can be different from person to person, most people experience mild flu-like symptoms soon after being bitten. A small number may have more serious symptoms, sometimes weeks after the bite.
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include:
For more information, visit www.canada.ca/Lymedisease.
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What Do You Do If You Become Ill
Consult your health care provider right away if you develop symptoms of Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick or if you visited a known at risk area for Lyme disease. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of a successful treatment.
If you saved the tick that bit you, bring it to your medical appointment. Tell your doctor:
- how long you estimate that the tick was attached to you
- where you were when you were bitten by the tick
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed And Treated
Lyme disease is usually diagnosed when a person develops a bull’s-eye rash, flu-like symptoms , or both. These symptoms usually start a few days or weeks after the person is bitten by an infected tick.
A two-step blood test can verify the presence of Lyme disease antibodies, although it does take a few weeks for those antibodies to develop. And despite what some physicians and advocacy groups claim, a blood test is the only way Lyme disease can be confirmed, Larry Zemel, MD, head of rheumatology at Connecticut Childrens Medical Center, tells Health. Some doctors say they can diagnose Lyme even when patients test negative repeatedly, but that has not been borne out by any scientific study, he says.
When people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in its early stages, a 10- to 20-day course of oral antibioticsusually with a drug called doxycyclinewill clear the infection and help them feel better fairly quickly. This cures the vast majority of people, and they have a 100% recovery with no lasting effects, says Dr. Zemel.
If Lyme disease isnt diagnosed right away, it can cause more serious symptoms like arthritis and memory problems. These people may need a full month of oral antibiotics, says Dr. Zemel. About 20% of these patients will need IV antibiotics , and they may also need other medications to treat symptoms like pain and muscle stiffness.
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What Is Late Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is caused by an infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is disseminated through tick bites. Infected ticks usually bite small mammals, who do not develop any kind of infection from the bacteria. When humans are exposed to B. Burgdorferi from a tick bite, however, they can develop Lyme disease.
People who work outside or spend time in woodland areas, where there is greater potential for exposure to tick bites, are most at risk of infection.
Lyme disease is a condition which progresses in stages:
Lyme Disease In Missouri
The first question to ask is, Does Lyme disease occur in Missouri? There have been patients with symptoms similar to those in other areas of the United States, but B. burgdorferi has not yet been isolated from any patients in Missouri. Lyme disease is nationally notifiable and is therefore notifiable in Missouri. Missouri patients who fulfill the strict CDC case definition for Lyme disease are reported as such. Because the EM rashes of Missouri origin are similar to those in other parts of the country, they are referred to as EM-like by the Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC. The clinical syndrome associated with the EM-like rash appears similar to Lyme disease and is called Lyme-like disease.
The uncertainty regarding the occurrence of Lyme disease is not unique to Missouri . Determining the geographic distribution and prevalence of a disease-causing agent is always challenging, particularly when the agent is a relatively recently identified one. This problem is compounded many fold, when one realizes that it is not only the distribution and prevalence of the agent that must be considered, but also that of possible reservoirs and vectors that maintain and transmit the agent. All of these factors must come together at the same place and time before disease can be caused in a host.
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Lyme Disease And The Immune System
When Lyme disease gets hold of the cellsin the body and begins its journey throughout, it attacks the immune systemheavily. It does this by causing the body to have a heightened immune response, but without the ability to kill the cells, the immune systemworks in overdrive to no avail.
When the immune system begins to send theimportant cells needed to fight off infection, this causes inflammation thatruns rampant throughout the entire body. The inflammation caused by the immuneresponse then contributes to the damage in tissues and organs.
What Does Lyme Disease Do To The Body
When a tick transfers Lyme to a humanduring feeding, the virus spreads through the bloodstream. It does this whenthe bacteria grabs hold of blood vessels and moves along inside the bloodstreamto areas of the body that will allow it to thrive. It is essentially the sameprocess as the immune cells in the body that are meant to ward off infectiousdiseases.
Once it reaches the areas where it ismost likely to survive, it sets up shop and begins attacking the system,including the nervous system, until it is either fought off with antibiotics orprogresses, leading to serious complications down the line.
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