What Are The Side Effects Of Lyme Disease Treatments
Antibiotics, like all medications, have the potential for side effects. Any antibiotic can cause skin rashes, and if an itchy red rash develops while on antibiotics, a patient should see their physician. Sometimes symptoms worsen for the first few days on an antibiotic. This is called a Herxheimer reaction and occurs when the antibiotics start to kill the bacteria. In the first 24 to 48 hours, dead bacterial products stimulate the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that can cause increased fever and achiness. This should be transient and last no more than a day or two after the initiation of antibiotics.
The most common side effect of the penicillin antibiotics is diarrhea, and occasionally even serious cases caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. This bacterial overgrowth condition occurs because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in our gut. It can be helpful to use probiotics to restore the good bacteria and microbiome balance.
What Precautions Can I Take Against Tick Bites
- Avoid wooded, brushy, and grassy areas, especially in May, June, and July.
- Wear light-colored clothing so that you can see ticks that get on you.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and shoes that cover the entire foot.
- Tuck pant legs into socks or shoes, and tuck shirts into pants.
- Wear a hat for extra protection.
- Spray insect repellent containing DEET on clothes and uncovered skin.
- Walk in the center of trails to avoid brush and grass.
- Remove your clothing, and wash and dry them at high temperatures after being outdoors.
- Do a careful body check for ticks after outdoor activities.
What Should I Do If I Am Bitten By A Tick
If you experience a tick bite, the best way to remove it is by taking the following steps:
- Tug gently but firmly with blunt tweezers near the “head” of the tick at the level of your skin until it releases its hold on the skin.
- Avoid crushing the tick’s body or handling the tick with bare fingers as you could exposure yourself to the bacteria in the tick.
- Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water.
- DO NOT use kerosene, petroleum jelly , or hot cigarette butts to remove the tick.
- DO NOT squeeze the tick’s body with your fingers or tweezers.
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Full Recommendations For The Prevention Diagnosis And Treatment Of Lyme Disease
I. Which measures should be used to prevent tick bites and tick-borne infections?
Personal Protective Measures
Summary of the Evidence
Rationale for Recommendation
Although there is little systematic evidence supporting some of these measures for the prevention of Lyme disease, they may offer potential benefits with little effort, risk, or cost.
Properly designed studies performed with human subjects under realistic conditions are required to test the efficacy of personal protection measures. Similarly, research is needed to inform how to motivate the adoption and continued use of best practice personal protection measures.
Repellents to Prevent Tick Bites
Summary of the Evidence
In laboratory and field experiments involving human subjects, the use of DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus , p-methane-3,8-diol , 2-undecanone, and permethrin reduced the number of ticks detected crawling on or attached to subjects compared with controls . Other commercially available products, including botanical agents and essential oils cannot be recommended due to insufficient evidence.
How Lyme Disease Spreads
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Infected blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours in order to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Most people get Lyme disease after being bitten by:
- nymphs, which are about the size of a poppy seed
- adult female ticks, which are about the size of a sesame seed
You may not notice a tick bite because ticks are tiny and their bites are usually painless.
Not all blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks are infected with the bacteria when they feed on infected animals like:
- rodents, such as white-footed mice and chipmunks
People and other animals can get Lyme disease when an infected tick feeds on them for long enough to transmit the bacteria.
More than 40 different types of ticks live in Canada, but only 2 types spread the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease in people:
Blacklegged ticks are most often found in or along the edge of forested areas. Tick habitats also include:
- wood piles
- grass or herbs
Ticks can be active whenever the temperature is consistently above freezing and the ground isn’t covered by snow. You’re most likely to encounter ticks during the spring, summer and fall. However, when conditions are favourable, ticks can be active at any time of the year.
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Background And Diagnosis Of Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophicans
Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans is a late skin manifestation of Lyme disease that develops insidiously several years after initial infection .
Approximately 20% of patients have a history of a preceding erythema migrans lesion, usually of the same extremity . Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans is diagnosed most frequently in women > 40 years of age. Although any of the species of Lyme Borrelia may cause the lesion, by far the most common etiologic agent is B. afzelii. Therefore, this manifestation is much more common in Europe than in the United States .
Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans occurs most often on the extensor surfaces of the hands and feet, and early lesions are characterized by a slight bluish-red discoloration and doughy swelling. Initially unilateral, the lesion may later become bilateral. The lesion enlarges slowly over months to years, in association with resolution of the edema and development of skin atrophy . Nodules may develop over bony prominences, such as the elbow or patella . In some patients, sclerosing lesions develop. Because of atrophy of the skin, the veins become prominent, which may lead to a misdiagnosis of venous insufficiency . Approximately two-thirds of patients have an associated peripheral neuropathy, typically involving the affected extremity, manifested primarily as local sensory loss .
Should I Remove A Tick And How
Yes, remove a tick. But do not manhandle the tick by squeezing it, putting Vaseline over it, or holding a hot match to it, as this may increase the chance of transmitting disease.
The tick should be removed with fine pointed tweezers. Grasp it from the side where it meets the skin, and, using steady gentle pressure, gently pull in the opposite direction from which it embedded, until the tick is released. Expect to see the skin tent as you gently pull. Place the tick in a lidded container or zip-lock bag. Wash and disinfect the bite site, your hands, and your tweezers. Avoid handling the tick.
If you use a tick removal device like a tick scoop or tick key, follow the directions given on the package for safe and effective use.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
The primary symptom of Lyme disease is a red rash that can appear several days after infection. The rash can be small or grow large , and may resemble a bulls eye.
The signature bulls eye rash is distinctive enough to make the diagnosis, but approximately 20 percent of infected patients dont have a rash. To help confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order lab tests to identify antibodies to the B. burgdorferi bacteria.
The first test is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test, which detects antibodies to B. burgdorferi. If the ELISA test is positive, a western blot test is usually conducted to confirm the diagnosis.
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics for several weeks by mouth or through an IV.
Natural Remedies For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is spread through the bite of infected ticks.
Ticks are very small, and their biteswhich can occur anywhere on the bodyare usually painless, so you may not immediately be aware that you have been bitten. In most cases, the tick must be attached to the body for 24 hours before Lyme disease is transmitted.
The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually start within three to 30 days after youve been bitten by an infected tick. Many people experience flu-like symptoms after being bitten, while more serious symptoms show up weeks after the bite. Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
If left untreated, symptoms can worsen to include Bells palsy , severe headaches, muscle, joint, and tendon pain, cardiac problems, and neurological disorders.
Most cases of Lyme disease can be managed and treated with two to three weeks of antibiotics. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and how long after the bite you were diagnosed, you may need a longer course of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Many people turn to natural remedies to help treat Lyme disease.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by ticks. When you are outdoors, follow these guidelines:
- Avoid areas that are wooded, brushy, or have tall grass.
- Walk in the center of trails.
- Use an insect repellent with at least 20% DEET. It can be put on clothing or sparingly on the skin. Dont apply it to the face or hands of children.
- Treat clothing, tents, or other gear with repellents containing 0.5% permethrin.
- Wear light-colored clothing. This makes it easier to see and remove ticks from your clothes.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots for added protection.
After you get home, check everything and everyone for ticks.
- Bathe or shower as soon as you can to wash off any ticks that have not attached to you.
- Check your entire body for ticks. Use a mirror for places you cant see. Check your children and your pets. Common tick locations include the back of the knees, groin area, underarms, ears, scalp, and the back of the neck.
- Check any gear you used, including coats, backpacks, or tents.
Tumble dry clothes or blankets on high heat in the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes. This should kill any ticks. If clothes are dirty, wash them in hot water and dry on high heat for 60 minutes.
Herbs For Lyme Disease Treatment
Herbs have been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years. Many people have turned to herbal remedies to help provide relief from Lyme disease when antibiotics didn’t completely help eliminate symptoms.
One research study found that a combination of doxycycline and baicalein provides additional healing benefits. According to a 2020 laboratory study, seven herbal medicines have been shown to kill B. burgdorferi in test tubes:
- Cryptolepis sanguinolenta
- Scutellaria baicalensis
Garlic has antibacterial effects and may help prevent tick bites. One study determined that people who took garlic supplements reported fewer tick bites than the placebo group. Garlic essential oil has been shown to eliminate the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Garlic can interact with certain medications, so speak with your healthcare provider before using it to prevent or treat Lyme disease.
Steviaa natural sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plantmay be effective in treating Lyme disease. A study published in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology discovered that stevia extracts are more effective in killing Lyme disease bacterium in the lab than the standard antibiotics.
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If Bitten By A Tick Should I Consider Immediate Antibiotics To Prevent Lyme Disease
ILADS recommends that prophylaxis be discussed with all who have had a blacklegged tick bite.An appropriate course of antibiotics has been shown to prevent the onset of infection.
When the decision is made to use antibiotic prophylaxis, ILADS recommends 20 days of doxycycline . The decision to treat a blacklegged tick bite with antibiotics often depends on where in the country the bite occurred, whether there was evidence that the tick had begun feeding, and the age of the person who was bitten. Based on the available evidence, and provided that it is safe to do so, ILADS recommends a 20-day course of doxycycline.
Patients should also know that although doxycycline can prevent cases of Lyme disease, ticks in some areas carry multiple pathogens, some of which, including Babesia, Powassan virus, and Bartonella, are not responsive to doxycycline. This means a person could contract a tick-borne illness despite receiving antibiotic prophylaxis for their known tick bite.
ILADS recommends against single-dose doxycycline. Some doctors prescribe a single 200 mg dose of doxycycline for a known bite. However, as discussed in detail in the guidelines, this practice is based on a flawed study that has never been replicated. Read more in the ILADS treatment guidelines.
The bottom line: If you have been bitten by a blacklegged tick, you should discuss immediate antibiotic treatment with your provider as a possible course of action.
What You Need To Know About The Prevention And Treatment Of Lyme Disease
May 1, 2016
We hear a lot about Lyme disease in Ontario. It is a more serious illness than many people realize, and it should be taken more seriously. The truth is that most of us are unsure what Lyme disease is, exactly, and how it can impact our lives. We know that we can get it from a tick bite, and it is most commonly contracted in wooded areas or while camping.
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Essential Oils For Lyme Disease
It is believed that many essential oils have antimicrobial activities, and some people with persistent Lyme disease symptoms have turned to essential oils to help reduce symptoms of the disease.
Researchers tested 34 essential oils against B. burgdorferi in the lab and found cinnamon bark, clove bud, citronella, wintergreen, and oregano show strong activity against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, even more effectively than daptomycin, the gold standard antibiotic many people with Lyme disease are prescribed.
These results indicate that essential oils show promise as treatments for persistent Lyme disease, but clinical trials are needed in order to show their effectiveness in humans.
When used properly, most essential oils are safe and free of adverse side effects. However, it is important to use them carefully. They can irritate the skin if not properly diluted, and some should not be taken internally.
Purchase high-quality essential oils that go through testing to ensure the product is safe to use. Follow the usage and dilution instructions on the label carefully. Talk with your healthcare professional before using essential oils to avoid drug interactions with any medications you are taking.
What Are The Risk Factors For Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Risk factors for Post Treatment Lyme Disease include:
- Delay in diagnosis
- Increased severity of initial illness
- Presence of neurologic symptoms
Increased severity of initial illness, the presence of neurologic symptoms, and initial misdiagnosis increase the risk of Post Treatment Lyme Disease. PTLD is especially common in people that have had neurologic involvement. The rates of Post Treatment Lyme Disease after neurologic involvement may be as high as 20% or even higher. Other risk factors being investigated are genetic predispositions and immunologic variables.
In addition to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there are several other tick-borne co-infections that may also contribute to more prolonged and complicated illness.
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Who Gets Lyme Disease And At What Time Of Year
Lyme disease is transmitted via the bite of infected ticks, which attach to any part of the body, but often to moist or hairy areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
While everyone is susceptible to tick bites, campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and other leafy outdoor venues are at the greatest risk of tick bites. As many a suburban gardener can attest, with the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving, too, providing ample blood meals for ticks. For lyme disease to be transmitted, a tick needs to feed on the host for 24-48 hours.
In the majority of cases, tick bites are reported in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But this can extend into the warmer months of early autumn, too, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. Similarly, a mild winter can allow ticks, much like other insects, to thrive and emerge earlier than usual.
Living With Lyme Disease
Most people treated in the early stages of Lyme disease make a quick and complete recovery. Some may experience symptoms for a few weeks after treatment. If you were treated for Lyme disease but you still dont feel well, call your family doctor. They can make sure there isnt something else wrong. They can help you find ways to ease your symptoms. Some patients have found relief with treatments typically used for chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
Other things you can do to help manage Lyme disease include:
- Educate yourself. There is a lot of inaccurate information to be sorted through, especially on the internet. Ask your doctor if you have questions.
- Track your symptoms. Keep a diary of your sleep patterns, eating habits, exercise routines, and how youre feeling. You or your doctor may be able to make connections between them.
- Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise as regularly as you can. Get plenty of rest.
- Find support.It can be hard to not feel well and not know why. Some people may think your symptoms arent real. Talk to friends and family. If they cant offer support, talk with a counselor who can help you.
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