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Lyme Disease When To See A Doctor

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Identify Doctors Trained In The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Tick

Heres What To Do If You Find A Tick Bite

You can access a variety of online resources and directories to locate doctors who are specifically trained in identifying and treating tick-borne illnesses. These do not have to be infectious disease specialists they can be physicians from any practice area who simply have extensive experience with tick-borne diseases.

It is particularly important to find a Lyme expert if you suspect that you may have Lyme disease, since it is the most frequently misdiagnosed of all tick-borne diseases. Finding a Lyme-literate medical doctor a physician who is familiar with the vast range of symptoms that may indicate infection at various stages of the disease, as well as potential coinfections and other complexitiescan help ensure that you get the right treatment, right away.

To find a doctor who is also a Lyme expert, you may want to explore the following resources:

Note: Some of these organizations may require you to submit a form or create a login to access their databases.

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My Doctor Doesnt Believe In Lyme Disease What Do I Do

If you go to see your doctor because you believe you have contracted Lyme disease and your doctor says they do not believe in or do not treat Lyme disease, go to another doctor. Specifically, go to a Lyme Literate Doctor . Early diagnosis and proper treatment are critical for success with this disease.

Read Also: How Can You Get Lyme Disease Without Tick Bite

Do Doctors Prescribe Amoxicillin For Lyme

A doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics during the early stages of Lyme disease. For adults and children over 8 years of age, a doctor may prescribe a 10-21-day course of doxycycline. For younger children, and pregnant or women who are breastfeeding, a doctor may prescribe a 14-21-day course of amoxicillin or cefuroxime.

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What Is The Outlook For People With Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat completely but is usually not life-threatening. Youll get the best results from combining rehabilitation with support for your emotional, social and mental wellbeing. You will be able to manage your pain to a level that improves your quality of life with the help of a pain specialist in using some or most of the methods mentioned above.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/07/2020.


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About How You Can Catch Lyme Disease

Lyme disease in Canada: What we do and don
  • The bacteria which cause Lyme disease are commonly caught from the bite of an infected tick.
  • Lyme-infected ticks are found in grassy and wooded areas anywhere in the UK.
  • Checking for ticks, and prompt, correct removal reduces the risk of infection, and using tick-focused repellents reduces the risk of being bitten. Most ticks do not carry Lyme disease.
  • Lyme disease may theoretically be passed from a pregnant mother to the baby.
  • No evidence was found showing Lyme disease can be spread by blood transfusions or sexual contact.
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    Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease

    Timing: Weeks to months after a tick bite

    In early disseminated Lyme disease, the infection has started to move beyond the site of your tick bite to other parts of your body such as your heart, brain, or spinal cord. Lyme disease that has moved to the brain is sometimes referred to as Lyme neuroborreliosis, or neurological Lyme disease.

    Common symptoms of early disseminated Lyme disease include:

    • More than one EM rash

    • Pain that may come and go and move around the body, in joints, tendons, muscles, and bones

    • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord , which can cause severe headache, neck stiffness, and sensitivity to light and sound

    • Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the arms and legs

    • Weakness or drooping on one or both sides of the face difficulty closing an eyelid

    • Inflammation of the heart that can cause heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, or fainting. If you are experiencing any of these heart symptoms, seek immediate medical care.

    You may also experience a worsening of earlier Lyme disease symptoms.

    Lyme disease can cause joint pain , a stiff neck , or weakness or drooping on one or both sides of the face, known as facial palsy .

    What Kind Of Doctor Tests For Lyme Disease

    In fact, any kind of doctor can test you for Lyme disease. However, that doesnt mean its a good idea to have your dermatologist or podiatrist order the diagnostic tests. Many people simply see their family physician or primary care doctor to get diagnosed and treated for Lyme.

    There are also doctors who specialize in Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, called Lyme-literate doctors, who you may want to consult instead more on that a little later in this article.

    Finally, there are other types of specialists you may or may not need to consult with depending on the duration and severity of your symptoms.

    For example, many patients wonder if they need to see an infectious disease specialist.

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    Myth: Lyme Disease Always Causes A Bull’s

    Because Lyme disease often causes a very distinct bull’s-eye rash, this symptom is considered one of the “hallmarks” of the infection. Per the Mayo Clinic, this rash can show up as soon as three days after someone is bit by an infected tick, but it may not show up until as late as 30 days after the bite. And sometimes the rash doesn’t appear at all. Dr. Neil Spector, a cancer researcher who contracted Lyme disease in the 90s, told CBS News that research estimates 40-50% of people who contract Lyme disease don’t get a rash at all or get a rash that doesn’t look like the classic bull’s-eye rash. According to the CDC, a rash caused by Lyme disease can present in several different ways, and often looks very different on darker skin.

    Unfortunately, Spector said to CBS News, many doctors look only for the classic bull’s-eye rash and may miss cases of Lyme in which it never appears. As a result, many people don’t know they have Lyme disease until they’ve had it for months or even years. For this reason, it’s important for doctors and patients to understand the other symptoms associated with a Lyme disease infection in case a rash never manifests.

    When To Call A Doctor

    CDC adds disclaimer allowing doctors to rely on Lyme Disease patients rather than data
    • A tick is attached to your body and you can’t remove the entire tick.
    • You have a circular red rash that expands over the course of several days, especially if you know you were recently exposed to ticks. You may also have flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, stiff neck, fever, chills, or body aches.
    • You feel very tired or have joint pain , irregular heartbeats, severe headache, or neck pain.
    • You are pregnant or breastfeeding and you think you may have been exposed to ticks.

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    Strategies For Finding A Good Lyme Doctor

    The first thing I did after my Lyme diagnosis was spend as much time and mental energy as I could researching Lyme disease. I needed to understand a little more what treatment options were available and how they compared.

    I had a general idea that I wanted to find a good integrative LLMD to help guide me through the treatment process. I wanted a doctor who would take the best that modern medicine has to offer while also understanding what other alternative treatment modalities could bring to the table.

  • Determine what kind of treatment you want to pursue. Are you looking for a doctor who leans primarily on antibiotics and prescription medications? One who primarily uses alternative treatments? Or a doctor who uses both?
  • Collect names of potential doctors using reputable websites. There are several websites that will give you referrals for LLMDs. Some of my favorites are the following:
  • Lyme Disease Associate Doctor Referral
  • State-Specific Lyme Facebook Groups
  • Check the doctors out. Dont just go with the first Lyme doctor you find. Since most good LLMDs dont accept insurance, youll want to make sure youre not wasting your money or time on a dud.
  • Look for doctor reviews online or in online forums.
  • Join Lyme groups on Facebook and ask about the doctors youre considering.
  • Find local Lyme support groups to attend where youll be able to ask about the doctors people are seeing and learn what their track record is.
  • Good luck on your doctor search!

    Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early. These can include:

    • pain and swelling in the joints
    • nerve problems such as numbness or pain in your limbs
    • memory problems
    • difficulty concentrating

    Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment. But they can persist if treatment is started late.

    A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. Its not clear exactly why this happens. Its likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.

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    What Are Symptoms Of Chronic Lyme Disease In Dogs

    Symptoms of ChronicLymeDisease in Dogs. The symptoms of Lymedisease occur some time after the tick bite, usually 2 to 5 months. Most common symptoms are: Fever. Sudden lameness the lameness episodes can last 3 to 4 days and then disappear for weeks. Swelling of the joints. Swollen lymph nodes. Myositis

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    Can Lyme Disease Rash Itch

    Lyme Disease Swollen Lymph Nodes Neck

    If you develop a Lyme disease rash, you probably wont be scratching your skin until its raw. Still, Lyme disease rashes can be slightly itchy, even mildly painful, said Dr. Aucott, but they dont itch like a case of poison ivy.

    Lyme rashes often feel warm to the touch as well. Your healthcare provider may perform whats called a crossover test to gauge whether the area feels warmer than the rest of your skin, said Dr. Johnson. Heres what that involves: Lets say the rash is behind one knee. You place one hand on the rash and your other hand in the same area of the unaffected knee, wait a few seconds, and then switch hands. If theres a difference in temperature, youll notice it.

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    What Are The Treatments For Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better it gives you the best chance of fully recovering quickly.

    After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts more than 6 months. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Researchers don’t know why some people have PTLDS. There is no proven treatment for PTLDS long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS. If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel unwell, contact your health care provider about how to manage your symptoms. Most people do get better with time. But it can take several months before you feel all better.

    What Are Risk Factors For Developing Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease occurs most frequently in children 5-14 years of age and adults 40-50 years of age. The most substantial risk factor for Lyme disease is

    • exposure to the ticks located in the high-risk areas of the country listed above,
    • particularly in the New England states,
    • as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    Additional risk factors include recreational and occupational exposure to ticks and outdoor activities, including

    • gardening, in woods, and
    • fields in the high-risk areas.

    No transplacental transmission of Lyme disease from the mother to the unborn child has ever been described. Again, Lyme disease is not contagious from one person to another.

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    When To Go To The Doctor For An Infected Bug Bite Or Sting

    You may be able to treat minor infections at home with over-the-counter antibiotic ointments. But in many cases, youll need to go to the doctor for an infected bug bite or sting. You should see a doctor if:

    • you have signs of a systemic infection, such as chills or a fever, especially if the fever is above 100°F
    • your child has any signs of an infected bug bite
    • you have signs of lymphangitis, such as red streaks extending from the bite
    • you develop sores or abscesses on or around the bite
    • the pain on or around the bite gets worse over a few days after youve been bitten
    • the infection doesnt get better after using an antibiotic ointment for 48 hours
    • redness spreads from the bite and gets bigger after 48 hours

    In the beginning of an infection, you may be able to treat it at home. But if the infection gets worse, you may need medical treatment. Call a doctor if youre not sure.

    Lyme Disease Prevention And Treatment

    What Are Symptoms of Lyme Disease? A Doctor Explains

    The summer is prime time for deer ticks to spread Lyme disease across Connecticut and most of the northeast. A warmer fall due to climate change means ticks will continue to pose a threat well into September and October.

    Lyme disease is a bacterial infection discovered by two Yale physicians in 1975. When a group of children developed knee pain around Lyme, Connecticut, they suspected they were dealing with a new illness.

    Joint or muscle pain is now recognized as one of the common symptoms of Lyme disease. Other symptoms can include fever, chills, swollen glands, heart palpitations, facial weakness and the classic bullseye rash. However, Yale New Haven Health infectious disease specialist , said that rash only looks like a bullseye in about one out of 10 patients. It can be a long time before some people develop any symptoms at all.

    Lyme is typically broken down into three stages of infection and the last stage is called late or late disseminated Lyme and that can actually show up years after you get the initial tick bite, Dr. Grant said.

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    Myth: Lyme Disease Doesn’t Cause Chronic Illness

    The biggest Lyme disease controversy centers on post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome , a chronic illness often called “Chronic Lyme Disease” . A paper published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences states that 10-20% of patients who get infected with Lyme disease will have long-term symptoms after initial treatment. However, the difficulties with diagnosing and treating Lyme disease have led to a deep divide within the medical community. Some believe that the lingering symptoms are caused by an active, persistent Lyme disease infection. Others believe that they are the manifestation of a post-infection autoimmune condition. Still others believe that the symptoms are unrelated to Lyme disease and that PTLDS/CLD doesn’t exist at all. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes PTLDS as a chronic illness, but acknowledges that a lot doctors, scientists, and researchers don’t know about it.

    Regardless of the medical community’s views on PTLDS/CLD, thousands of people in the United States are struggling with the chronic illness, per a study published in BioMed Central Public Health. And it has a major impact on their well-being. One study found that people diagnosed with PTLDS experience a poorer quality of life and greater symptom severity than people with other chronic illnesses.

    Which Areas Are More Likely To Have It

    The tick that causes Lyme disease has been moving from the Northeast and upper Midwest into the Southern and Western U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Cases in California and Florida are on the rise. After a drop between 2017 and 2018, the numbers jumped a little bit in 2019.

    But most Lyme cases in 2019 were in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New

    Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC, is also a hotspot.

    In 2019, Pennsylvania had the most Lyme infections, with 6,763. New York was next, with 2,847 cases.

    In the Southern U.S., where itâs hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they don’t dry out. This means people donât get Lyme from Southern ticks very often because they don’t usually come out to bite.

    Even though people only report about 30,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year, there are actually around 476,000 a year. The same tick also can spread other diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus. Those diseases are also on the rise in the U.S.

    Whoâs likeliest to get Lyme disease?

    Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thatâs because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.

    Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?

    There are several reasons why Lyme is spreading. Some of these are:

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    Finding A Good Lyme Doctor

    I was one of the lucky ones.

    After over a year of my general doctor running tests and sending me to different specialists, I tentatively questioned if Lyme disease might be worth investigating.

    My doctor agreed: it was a good idea. But he also admitted that he knew the tests were terribly unreliable and Id need a good Lyme doctor to help me figure out if this was indeed causing all of my mysterious symptoms.

    He referred me to a colleague who helped guide me through the early stages of Lyme testing and getting my diagnosis.

    Ill forever be grateful for my doctors honesty. He knew he didnt understand Lyme well enough. He knew certain tests were sadly unreliable. And he was gracious enough to help me search for answers when most doctors would have scoffed.

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