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.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I found a tick embedded in my skin, but I cant get it out. What should I do?
- Ive been bitten by a tick. Do I need to be seen?
- Do I need a blood test to confirm Lyme disease?
- Which antibiotic is best for me?
- How long will I have to take the antibiotic?
- What tick or insect repellent should I use for me or my child?
- How long will the symptoms last?
- What should I do if I still dont feel well a long time after I was bitten?
Central Mass Residents Must Protect Themselves From The Threat Of Infection With Effective Tick Control
Professional Central Mass tick control is our best ally in the fight against tick bites, and it is available all year long. In the spring, summer, and fall, barrier tick spray is an essential part of Lyme disease prevention. In the late fall and through the winter, tick tubes will carry on the fight, decreasing the number of ticks that will emerge in the spring.
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Early Detection Is Key
Lyme disease is easiest to treat at the early or acute stage, within the first 30 days of exposure. This is why its so important to take precautions to prevent tick bites, both during and outside of tick season. Protect yourself when near potential tick habitats, always perform tick checks after outdoor activity , and dont delay seeking medical attention if you notice any symptoms that might be related to tick-borne illness. Its important to get tested as soon as possible for the best chances of recovery.
How To Prevent Lyme Disease From Progressing
Learn the symptoms of early Lyme disease so that you can seek treatment promptly if you contract the infection. If you get timely treatment, you can avoid the potential complications of early disseminated Lyme disease and later stages.
- rash, such as:
- a red, expanding bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite
- a round or oval rash that can be as wide as 6 to 8 inches
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Learn About Lyme Disease
Although Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick, knowledge of any given tick bite is not helpful to predicting whether or not you may have Lyme disease: the majority of individuals that contract Lyme disease will not remember the tick bite. Also, only 2% of tick bites result in Lyme disease. Late spring and early summer are the highest risk season for Lyme disease, when the nymphal stage of the ticks emerge. Adults ticks are present year round and can be feeding any time when temperature exceed 40 degrees. Although both genders and all ages are susceptible, Lyme disease is most common among boys aged 5-19 and adults 30 or older.
If you think you may have Lyme disease, it is important to consult your health care provider
The prognosis for recovery is best when Lyme disease is diagnosed and treated in its earliest phase. But remember, treatment doesnt make you immune you can get Lyme again if another infected tick bites you.
What To Do After a Tick Bite
If you or a loved one is bitten, remove the tick promptly. Heres how:
Recognizing the Rash
Requesting and Receiving Care
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
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. He or she 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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History And Physical Examination
The clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease can be straightforward in patients with a history of tick exposure and the characteristic finding of an erythema migrans rash.12 The CDC has defined erythema migrans rash as an expanding red macule or papule that must reach at least 5 cm in size .11 According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines, erythema migrans rash is the only clinical manifestation sufficient to make the diagnosis of Lyme disease in the absence of laboratory confirmation.20 Although one study concluded that primary care physicians in a Lyme diseaseendemic area of France correctly identified erythema migrans in 72 percent of patients,22 the study was limited by lack of complete clinical information for the participants.
A number of conditions resemble erythema migrans however, the rapid and prolonged expansion of an erythematous lesion is unique to erythema migrans.11 Lesions most often occur at anatomic sites that are unusual for cellulitis and other conditions that mimic erythema migrans therefore, a complete skin examination should be performed before excluding erythema migrans.20
What Is The Cause
Lyme disease is caused by a type of corkscrew-shaped bacteria called spirochetes. The bacteria are transmitted by little deer ticks the size of a pinhead, dark brown, and hard to see. Lyme disease is not carried by the more common wood tick, which is bigger .
In most states only 2% of deer ticks carry Lyme disease. In the New England states, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, however, up to 50% of deer ticks are infected with Lyme disease. But even in these high-risk areas, only 1% of children bitten by a deer tick get Lyme disease.
If not removed, a tick will stay attached to a person’s skin and feed there for 3 to 6 days. For Lyme disease to be transmitted, the tick needs to be attached for at least 24 hours. You are more likely to get the infection if the tick remains attached for more than 48 hours.
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Secondary Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
One way to help your doctor diagnose your Lyme disease correctly is to document all your systems. Other symptoms occur in three stages also. Stage one or early localized symptoms include headaches, flu-like symptoms, fever, dizziness, fatigue, depression, joint pain or stiffness, swollen lymph nodes, or sore throat.
Stage 2, or early dissemination symptoms, may include all the symptoms from stage one, facial paralysis, poor memory, concentration problems, joint swelling, pain and weakness, pink eye, irregular heartbeats, and fainting.
Stage 3, or late dissemination, is also referred to as chronic Lyme disease. The symptoms include all the symptoms in stages one and two but are more severe. Symptoms may also include arthritis, numbness and tingling in the extremities, sleep disturbances, trouble processing thoughts, and heart problems.
Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection thats caused by a bite from a blacklegged tick.
Early disseminated Lyme disease is the phase of Lyme disease in which the bacteria that cause this condition have spread throughout the body. This stage can occur days, weeks, or even months after an infected tick bites you.
There are three stages of Lyme disease. Early disseminated Lyme disease is the second stage.
- Stage 1: Early localized Lyme disease. This occurs within several days of a tick bite. Symptoms may include redness at the site of the tick bite along with fever, chills, muscle aches, and skin irritation.
- Stage 2: Early disseminated Lyme disease. This occurs within weeks of a tick bite. The untreated infection begins spreading to other parts of the body, producing a variety of new symptoms.
- Stage 3: Late disseminated Lyme disease. This occurs months to years after an initial tick bite, when bacteria have spread to the rest of the body. During this stage, many people experience cycles of arthritis and joint pain along with neurological symptoms such as shooting pain, numbness in the extremities, and problems with short-term memory.
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Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks to months after the tick bite.
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell, and a rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
The Telltale Sign Of Stage 2 Lyme
A few days later, he started spiking high feversup to 103 degreestoward the evening. The following morning, though, his temperature was only between 99.0 and 99.5 degrees. He thought, Im about better now, so Ill go to work.
This happened two days in a row. Since his temperature was down in the morning, he would go to work and work all day as a cable splicer for Verizon. By the end of the day, though, he felt terrible again.
He and Mom tried to figure out what was going on. They started reading about Lyme disease.
Still sick ten days after he noticed the red mark, Dad finally made a doctors appointment. The day before the appointment, six plain red rashes materialized around his body. Then Mom and I knew it had to be Lyme.
When he met with the doctor, Dad said, Dont tell me. Let me tell you. He grinned. Its Lyme. Am I right?
The doctor confirmed Dads hypothesis and started him on two weeks of Doxycycline. By the time he finished the antibiotics, Dad was all better. Or so he thought.
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Regression And Other Symptoms In Children
Children are the largest population of Lyme patients.
The CDC study of reported Lyme cases from 19922006 found that the incidence of new cases was highest among 5- to 14-year-olds . About one quarter of reported Lyme cases in the United States involve children under 14 years old .
Children can have all the signs and symptoms of Lyme that adults have, but they may have trouble telling you exactly what they feel or where it hurts.
You may notice a decline in school performance, or your childs mood swings may become problematic.
Your childs social and speech skills or motor coordination may regress. Or your child may lose their appetite.
Children are more likely than adults to have arthritis as an initial symptom 01267-2/fulltext#sec0040 rel=nofollow> 25).
In a 2012 Nova Scotian study of children with Lyme, 65 percent developed Lyme arthritis . The knee was the most commonly affected joint.
Causes Of Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. You can contract the infection when a tick that carries the bacteria bites you. Typically, blacklegged ticks and deer ticks spread the disease. These ticks collect the bacteria when they bite mice or deer.
These tiny ticks spread the infection by attaching themselves to various parts of your body. Theyre about the size of a poppy seed and favor hidden areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. Often, they can remain undetected in these spots.
Most people who develop Lyme disease report that they never saw a tick on their body. The tick transmits bacteria after being attached for about 36 to 48 hours .
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs within a few weeks of a tick bite, after the initial infection goes untreated.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can help protect your family from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure to:
- Stay in the middle of the trail, instead of going through high grass or the woods.
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.
- Use an insect repellent.
- Consider treating clothing and gear with permethrin to repel ticks. When used properly, permethrin is safe for all ages. But don’t use it on clothing or other material a child may suck on or chew.
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Shower and wash hair after being outside to remove ticks before they attach.
Stage 2 And 3 Lyme Rashes
During stages 2 and 3 of Lyme disease, rashes may also be present. During stage 2, the rash will take roughly one to six months to appear. It will be markedly different from stage 1 and appear as small oval-shaped rashes, typically appearing on various parts of the body such as the face, legs, and arms. The center of a stage 2 Lyme disease rash may also be darker in the center or appear bluish with a clear center. In contrast with stage 1 rashes, stage 2 skin lesions are not likely to grow as the disease progresses.
Stage 3 Lyme disease does not often encompass rashes however, if skin changes do occur, they will typically appear on the hands and feet. Symptoms of skin changes in stage 3 Lyme disease can include pain, redness, and swelling. If the infection is severe, stage 3 will present with some skin symptoms such as:
- Hardening, thinning, or tearing of the skin
- Hair loss around the affected area
- Sweat gland loss
In very rare cases, lymphoma tumors may form on the skin.
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Lyme Disease Rash Timeline
Developing Lyme disease begins when a deer tick infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria embeds itself under your skin and into your bloodstream. Ticks feed on warm blood. They also carry multiple bacteria that can be transmitted to you.
For many who have been bitten by a deer tick, a rash develops. Called erythema migrans, the rash can be small or large, any shade of red and round. With the bite mark in the center, it can resemble a bullseye.
A Lyme disease rash may develop in the first few days after a bite, or it may not appear for 30 days later. For some, a rash may appear, fade, and reappear. It is an expanding rash, meaning it starts small and becomes larger over the following days or weeks. The rash may last for a month or longer.
You may develop multiple bullseye rashes.
Stage : Changing Skin
In stage 3, few signs of Lyme disease appear on the skin. Most problems occur in the heart and nervous system, and these can be serious.
Where you see signs on your skin: If you were in Europe when bit by a tick, you may see changes to your skin in this late stage. These changes usually appear on a hand or foot. Some people develop this change on both of their hands or feet. It can also occur on a knee, elbow, or elsewhere.
What the skin looks like: The skin begins to swell, and you may notice some redness. These signs are caused by having a bacterial infection for a long time. The affected skin may also feel sore.
In time, the skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form. If you have hair in the area, it tends to fall out. The sweat glands can die, and the skin often becomes so thin that it tears easily. The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitischronical atrophicans.
In stage 3, you may also see tumors on your skin. It is believed that the long-term infection and swelling in the lymph nodes can lead to a cancer known as cutaneous B-cell lymphoma.
Skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form
The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitis chronical atrophicans. Swelling, hardened skin, and deep lines on the foot of someone who has had Lyme disease for years.
When you see signs of changing skin and symptoms: These tend to occur months or years after you are bitten by a tick.
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Early Localized Lyme Disease
During this stage, the infection has not yet spread to other parts of the body. Diagnosing Lyme disease during stage 1 gives you the best chances of a quicker recovery.
Early localized Lyme disease commonly begins with a rash called erythema migrans. This rash, which occurs in 70% to 80% of infected people, typically develops seven days after a bite but can occur within three to 30 days.
The rash grows slowly over several days and can be more than 12 inches in diameter. The rash may be warm to the touch but is not usually painful or itchy. Some people may develop the classic bulls eye rash, but the rash’s appearance can vary greatly.
The following symptoms may also be present with or without a rash:
- Joint or muscle pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
People treated during this stage often recover quickly and completely. Treatment involves 10 to 14 days of oral antibiotics.
Unfortunately, 10% to 25% of cases may go unnoticed and progress to later stages of the disease.