The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
What Are The Second Stage Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The symptoms of second stage, early disseminated, Lyme disease can be difficult to attribute. Symptoms include severe fatigue, fever, pain, intermittent weakness and achiness of the muscles and joints, numbness in arms and legs, vision changes, and cognitive dysfunction such as short-term memory difficulties and problems multitasking. These symptoms are not specific for Lyme disease and can make the diagnosis of second stage Lyme disease very challenging.
More recognizable Lyme disease nervous system manifestations include facial paralysis , or meningitis with severe headache and stiff neck. Notable cardiac manifestations include passing out or feeling faint from an abnormally slow heart rate, irregular heart palpitations, or unexplained difficulty tolerating exercise. Meningitis and carditis are both potentially serious Lyme disease conditions and warrant immediate medical attention.
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.
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Inflammation At Several Sites
Lyme disease may cause inflammation throughout the body. Several of the symptoms mentioned above are manifestations of this inflammation.However, liver swelling leading to hepatitis can also occur, as can redness of the eye and inflammation in the joints.Further, Lyme disease can cause arthritis-like symptoms. While these are not typical of the disease, nor are they uncommon. Early diagnosis significantly reduces the risk of their occurrence.
Lyme Disease Test And Treatment
If you think you may have Lyme disease, contact your physician right away.
Your doctor may do a test for Lyme disease. The FDA regulates diagnostic tests to ensure that they are safe and effective. Its important to know that blood tests that check for antibodies to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease are not useful if done soon after a tick bite. It typically takes 2 to 5 weeks after a tick bite for initial antibodies to develop.
For this reason, your doctor may recommend treatment with antibiotics before the diagnostic tests are complete. According to the CDC, patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely.
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Lyme Disease In Dogs And Other Pets
Household pets can get Lyme disease, too. Typical symptoms in animals include swollen joints and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. Experts in the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine say that dogs with Lyme disease occasionally develop serious kidney disease that can be fatal.
There are ways you can reduce your pets risk for tick bites and Lyme disease. Regularly checking pets for all types of ticks, for instance, reduces the risk of infection for both pet and owner. Avoid allowing your dog to roam in tick-infested areas.
Topical, oral and/or collar products are also very important in preventing Lyme disease in dogs.
There are two basic types of Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs. Talk to your veterinarian to see if vaccination is appropriate for your dog. There is no vaccination for cats, which do not seem susceptible to Lyme disease.
What Are The First Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
In the first early localized stage of Lyme disease the skin at the site of the tick bite becomes infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria which can cause an expanding round or oval red skin lesion called erythema migrans. This may or may not be associated with flu-like symptoms within days to a month after the tick bite such as achiness, chills, fever, sweats, fatigue, malaise, headache, stiff neck, muscle soreness, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat. The combination of the skin lesion and flu-like symptoms are the primary manifestations of acute stage Lyme disease. Acute Lyme disease is not associated with typical cold-like symptoms of runny nose, prominent cough, or prominent diarrhea.
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An Overview Of The Cardiovascular System
In a healthy person, the heart pumps blood like a well-oiled machine, which delivers critical nutrients and oxygen to every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, and it removes carbon dioxide and other waste products from those tissues. Blood flows in the same direction throughout the body arteries carry oxygenated blood away from your heart, and veins return oxygen-poor blood back to the heart.
The average heart is larger than the size of an adult fist, and its the hardest working muscle in the body, pumping approximately 115,000 times a day. Here are some important points to remember about the heart:
- It consists of four chambers, including two atria and two ventricles.
- There are two atria, known as the right and left atrium. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from a large vein called the vena cava the left atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the lungs.
- The ventricles job is to collect and expel blood that comes from the atria. The right ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood into the vascular tree of the lungs where it receives oxygen. Then, the left ventricle pumps the oxygen-rich blood back to the tissues of the body.
- The upper wall of the right atrium houses a cluster of cells known as the sinoatrial node . The SA node is referred to as the hearts natural pacemaker, because it produces the electrical activity thats responsible for the rate and rhythm of your heartbeat.
When Should I Go See My Doctor
Anyone who has been bitten by a black-legged deer tick is at risk for Lyme disease. The highest risk groups include those living in or visiting endemic areas, especially people who spend significant time outdoors such as gardeners, hikers, or outdoor workers.
Patients should seek advice from their doctor if they have a suspicious round expanding red skin lesion, and/or show signs of summer-flu, particularly during Lyme disease season, which is highest-risk late spring through July/August. If those circumstances apply or symptoms persist it is very important to go to a physician.
For the west coast and other more temperate regions Lyme disease can be a year-round concern.
In the later disseminated stages, Lyme disease can be a much more insidious and complex illness. An individual should seek medical care if experiencing symptoms such as prolonged fevers, unexplained fatigue, painful joints, new or unusual headache, or heart or neurologic symptoms. If unexplained viral-like symptoms last for more than 1-2 weeks, please seek the advice of a physician.
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What If A Tick Bites My Dog
The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.
Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.
About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.
What if my dog brings ticks into my home?
Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.
Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.
Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.
John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â
American College of Rheumatology.
Testing For Lyme Disease
If you experience the symptoms listed above for Lyme disease, schedule a visit with your doctor. They will conduct two tests to confirm your diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Your doctor will need to take a blood sample. Then, this sample will be studied in the laboratory for the presence of antibodies against Lyme disease using a testing procedure referred to as EIA .
If the results of this first test are positive or indeterminate, they will conduct the second test using the same blood sample. This test is called an immunoblot test, also known as the Western blot test.
If this test comes back positive, then your doctor will inform you on how to treat Lyme disease and begin treatment.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can affect different body systems, such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. The symptoms of Lyme disease are often described as happening in three stages. Not everyone with Lyme has all of these, though:
The rash sometimes has a “bull’s-eye” appearance, with a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It also can appear as an growing ring of solid redness. It’s usually flat and painless, but sometimes can be warm to the touch, itchy, scaly, burning, or prickling. The rash may look and feel very different from one person to the next. It can be harder to see on people with darker skin tones, where it can look like a bruise. It gets bigger for a few days to weeks, then goes away on its own. A person also may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headache, and muscle aches.
How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
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Can Lyme Disease Completely Be Cured
Taking oral antibiotics typically cures Lyme disease after two to four weeks. You may need to get antibiotics through the vein for four more weeks. However, theres no reason to think that Lyme disease stays in you forever after treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If youre going to spend time in an area that might have ticks, take measures to avoid being bitten. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to make it harder for ticks to bite. If you feel sick after being in an area that probably has ticks, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. If your provider prescribes antibiotics, make sure you take all of them as instructed.
Cdc Supports The Development Of New Tests
New tests may be developed as alternatives to one or both steps of the two-step process. Before CDC will recommend new tests, they must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration . For more details, see: Recommendations for Test Performance and Interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease.
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Abnormal Sensations In The Limbs
A possible complication of Lyme disease is peripheral neuropathy, which signals dysfunction in the communication between nerves. Lyme-related neuropathy can cause odd sensations in different parts of the body, especially the limbs. Some people feel sharp, stabbing pains, burning sensations, tingling, and even numbness.These symptoms are common to many diseases, which is one more reason affirmative Lyme disease diagnoses are often delayed.
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which you can get if an infected deer tick bites you. Ordinary “wood ticks” and “dog ticks” dont carry the infection.
The first recognition of Lyme disease, also called borreliosis, began in 1975 when many children received a diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in Lyme, Connecticut, and two neighboring towns. Researchers found that bites from infected deer ticks were responsible for the outbreak of arthritis.
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Lyme Disease: Symptoms And Stages
Symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease include:
- muscle and joint aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Another common symptom of Lyme disease is a rash . As many as 80% of infected people may develop a rash, and roughly 20% of the time the rash has a characteristic bull’s-eye appearance.
When left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Later-stage symptoms may not appear until weeks or months after a tick bite occurs. They include:
- heart-rhythm irregularities
- nervous system abnormalities
Permanent damage to the joints or the nervous system can develop in patients with late Lyme disease. It is rarely, if ever, fatal.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
If you feel sick after having spent time in areas where ticks might live, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
If you received a Lyme disease diagnosis and you dont feel well after taking all of your antibiotics, contact your provider. This is especially true if you have symptoms like a stiff neck or mental confusion.
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Your Joints Hurt And Are Swelling
If you notice any joint swelling or pain, especially in the knees, its time to make an appointment. Pain can be intermittent in tendons, muscles, and bones as well. Inflammation can even spread to the brain and spinal cord. In some cases, the face can droop on just one side, or both, also known as facial palsy.4
Risk Factors For The Development Of Lyme Disease
Where you live or vacation has an effect on whether you contract Lyme disease. Your profession and extracurricular outdoor activities also play a role in your risk factor for its development. The most common risk factors for its development are:
- Spending time outdoors in wooded or grassy areas
- Having exposed skin when working or playing outdoors
- Failing to remove ticks promptly or properly
Many people dont initially realize that theyve been infected by a deer tick, and it may be weeks or months before they begin to realize that the signs and symptoms they are experiencing are in fact Lyme disease. Early detection is key to effective treatment if left unchecked, the complications and consequences of this disease could be severe. Knowing what to look for is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.
It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s also no agreed treatment.
Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.
The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:
- referral for a care needs assessment
- telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
- communicating with children and families’ social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
Warning Signs Of Lyme Disease To Be Aware Of
Ever come back home from a pleasant trip out to the fields or woods on a nice, summer day only to discover youve brought along an unwelcome visitor? Ticks can be quite a nuisance. They grab hold of the flesh with their little mouths, latching on with a strong bite. Then, the blood-sucking begins. Worse than the fear of a little vampire-like insect feasting on your blood, though, is the potential threat they carry within their own bodies.
This disease is an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi found in black-legged ticks. At first, the symptoms start off simple and largely unnoticeable. Left untreated, however, and the effects can be painful and long-lasting.
Read on to learn the symptoms and how to treat Lyme disease.
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