How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Lyme disease is most often treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime for several weeks. Please complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if your child is feeling better, in order to kill all the bacteria.
If your child doesn’t respond to oral antibiotics, or if the Lyme disease is affecting the central nervous system, antibiotics may need to be given intravenously . This usually doesnt require your child to be hospitalized. In many cases, a nurse can come to your home to administer the IV or teach you or another family member how to do it.
Anti-inflammatory medicine may be prescribed for children who are experiencing pain from arthritis.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease: The Em Rash
The most obvious sign of Lyme disease is a rash called an Erythema Migrans rash. This is a circular rash that develops around the site of the tick bite. It usually takes between three days and four weeks to appear, but it can take as long as three months before it develops. The rash is often described as a bulls-eye rash, as it often has a round centre with a circular outer rim, like the bulls-eye on a dartboard. However, not all EM rashes look like this. Some dont have a defined centre, or they may have a blister at the centre rather than an area of redness. Equally, they may appear blotchy rather than circular or oval, solid, or look like a bruise. EM rashes are often red, but they may also be blue or purple, and sometimes a yellow colour. Theyre not usually itchy, hot or painful, and they dont normally respond to antihistamines or anti-fungal creams. On some occasions, a person may have multiple rashes across the body, even if they were only bitten once. EM rashes grow outwards as they progress, and can end up as much as a metre wide. Its a good idea to draw around the outer edge with a biro each day, so you can see how much its growing.
Do All Tick Bites Cause Lyme Disease
No, not all tick bites cause Lyme disease. Only deer ticks cause Lyme disease. And most people bitten by one of these ticks dont usually get Lyme disease because:
- Only a small number of these ticks are infected with the that cause Lyme disease.
- An infected tick must be attached for at least 12 days to pass the bacteria.
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What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience what’s called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally don’t prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but it’s not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.
Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.
The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.
The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. It’s not usually hot or itchy.
The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.
Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- tiredness and loss of energy
Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later.
This is more likely if treatment is delayed.
These more severe symptoms may include:
- pain and swelling in joints
- nerve problems such as pain or numbness
- heart problems
- trouble with memory or concentration
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What Are Possible Complications Of Lyme Disease In A Child
Some children may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . This means that some symptoms last longer than 6 months. Symptoms can include:
- Ongoing muscle and nerve pain
- Problems with memory
PLDS does not respond to antibiotics. That’s because there isn’t an active infection anymore. Treatment is aimed at helping to control the symptoms.
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a multistage, multisystem bacterial infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. It is transmitted by the bite of blacklegged tick .
Blacklegged ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, making it extremely difficult to spot them on the body. Blacklegged ticks are very common in certain areas in the United States including:
- The northeast
- The mid-Atlantic states
- The north central states of Wisconsin and Minnesota
- Northern California
Lyme disease was first reported in the U.S. in 1977, in Old Lyme, CT, giving the disease its name. Blacklegged ticks are most often found in wooded and grassy areas, but can be transported by animals to other areas.
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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.
Lyme Disease Symptoms In Children
Most kids who are prone to Lyme if treated immediately with antibiotics provide better prognosis. But if it is unattended or not treated for a long time it becomes a difficult proposition. The bacteria could attack your nervous system, eyes and muscles. The reaction ability of each individual to Lyme is different. Some may experience a major chunk of symptoms, whereas in case of others it could be restricted to a few.
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Key Points About Lyme Disease In Children
- Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria are usually spread by tick bites.
- Lyme disease is a year-round problem, but it peaks during the spring and summer months.
- Ticks live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. A child is more at risk outdoors in these places, or around a pet who has been in these areas.
- One of the most common symptoms is a ring-shaped rash that looks like a bulls-eye. It may be pink in the center and have a darker red ring around it. The rash does not occur in every case of Lyme.
- Lyme is usually not hard for a healthcare provider to diagnose. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Your child may have blood tests to help diagnose Lyme.
- Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotic medicine. Early stage Lyme disease is more easily cured with antibiotics than late-stage disease. Repeated courses of antibiotics for post-Lyme disease syndrome don’t help.
- There is no vaccine for Lyme disease. But you can help prevent Lyme disease by protecting your child from tick bites.
Lyme Disease In Children Explained
Whether youre keen outward-bounders or are just trying to get your child off screens for a while, family walks are a staple of spring and summer weekends. When youre out exploring, though, its important to be aware of the possibility of tick bites, which in some cases, can lead to Lyme disease. This serious bacterial infection affects around 3,000 people in the UK every year, and is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the northern hemisphere.
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Other Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Its estimated that a third of people who have been infected with Lyme disease dont get an EM rash, so its important to be aware of other possible symptoms in your child. These include:
- Flu-like symptoms such as a headache, stiff neck, general aches and pains, and sore muscles and joints.
- A high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery.
- Swollen glands.
- Tiredness, loss of energy and difficulty concentrating.
- Bells Palsy: a condition that causes one side of the face to droop and not work properly. This is more likely in children than adults and can be alarming, but it usually gets better although it can take some time.
Younger children often cant articulate how they feel, so look out for other signs that they are feeling unwell, such as changes in behaviour or sleep patterns and general irritability, Julia adds.
What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
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Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.
Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 1 to 2 weeks after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but it isnt painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans is said to be characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people dont have this symptom.
Some people have a rash thats solid red, while people with dark complexions may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
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Fever Accompanied By Headache
The symptoms could be low level, but you could not attribute Lyme as a cause. It is pretty difficult to figure out Lyme disease symptoms with a viral infection. In case of some kids the symptoms may come and leave on a frequent basis. If the symptoms indicate negligible levels of flu and keeps on recurring at regular basis, then it could indicate Lyme.
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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Is It Too Late To Treat Lyme
Lyme disease can remain dormant for weeks, months or even years. When symptoms do eventually develop, they can be severe and patients often need aggressive treatment. Intravenous treatment is often required to treat late-stage infection. Late-stage treatment can last many months as seen in other infections as well.
What To Do If You Have A Blacklegged Tick Bite
Remove the tick by pulling it directly out with fine-tipped tweezers. Lift upward with slow and even pressure. Dont twist when removing it. Dont crush it or put soap or other substances on it. Dont apply heat to it.
Place the tick in a resealable container. See if you can identify what kind of a tick it is.
Immediately after removing the tick, wash your skin well with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.
Not all ticks carry Lyme. The Lyme bacteria is transmitted only by blacklegged ticks in their nymph or adult stage.
Save the tick to show your doctor. The doctor will want to determine if its a blacklegged tick and if theres evidence of feeding. Ticks enlarge as they feed. Your risk of getting Lyme from an infected tick increases with the length of time that the tick fed on your blood.
Pull the tick out with tweezers and save it in a resealable container for identification.
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Can I Prevent Tick Bites
You can protect your child from ticks by using an insect repellent that you spray on their skin and clothes. Your doctor can recommend a good spray. You can also encourage your child to wear tight-fitting clothing, including socks and a hat to keep ticks away from their skin.
Check your child for ticks whenever they have been playing outside. Pay special attention to their scalp, elbows, and knees, as well as the skin behind their ears and under their arms.
âBiomedical Journal of Scientific and Technical Research: Missed Diagnosis and the Development of Acute and Late Lyme Disease in Dark Skinned Populations of Appalachia.
âCenters for Disease Control and Prevention: Tick Bite: What to Do.
âCenters for Disease Control and Prevention: Tickborne Disease Surveillance Data Summary.
âCleveland Clinic: What to Do When a Tick Bites Your Child?
âHarvard Health Publishing: Tick Bites.
Medical Child Abuse: Rampant In Chronic Lyme Advocacy Groups
Signs of Medical Child Abuse can be seen in many chronic Lyme stories where one or more children in a family are diagnosed and treated inappropriately.
LymeScience has compiled a list of Red Flags of Chronic Lyme Quackery that may be helpful in determining if a child is a victim of Medical Child Abuse.
The biggest red flag is a child being treated by a pseudoscience practitioner, such as someone who advertises as Lyme literate, integrative, functional, alternative, complementary, Traditional Chinese Medicine, holistic, natural, chiropractic, homeopathic, and naturopathic.
In addition to a false Lyme diagnosis, children may receive false diagnoses of coinfections, including:
- unsubstantiated parasites
- chronic atypical babesia.
Chronic Lyme groups frequently scare mothers into believing they passed a chronic Lyme infection to their children. The children are then diagnosed with congenital chronic Lyme, which does not exist.
Chronic Lyme groups also scare families into thinking that harmless stretch markswhich often appear during teenage growth spurtsare evidence of a Bartonella infection. But Bartonella:
- has nothing to do with stretch marks,
- is not transmitted by ticks,
- is not a coinfection of Lyme disease, and
- in cat-scratch disease caused by Bartonella henselae, typically goes away on its own with no treatment.
In 2004, Dean A. Blumberg, MD, FAAP testified in Sacramento, California, where authentic Lyme disease is rare:
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How Can Lyme Disease Affect Your Pregnancy
We dont know for sure about the effects of Lyme disease on pregnancy. Untreated Lyme may cause complications during pregnancy, including:
- An infection in the placenta. The placenta grows in your uterus and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
- Stillbirth. This is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Congenital heart defects. These are heart conditions that are present at birth. They can affect the hearts shape or how it works, or both.
- Urinary tract defects. The urinary tract is the system of organs that helps your body get rid of waste and extra fluids. Urinary tract defects can cause pain, urinary tract infections, kidney damage and kidney failure.
- Problems with your babys blood, like hyperbilirubinemia. This is when your babys blood has too much bilirubin in it. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that forms as red blood cells break down. Too much bilirubin can cause your baby to have jaundice. This is when your babys skin and the white parts of his eyes look yellow because his liver isn’t fully developed or isn’t working.
Untreated Lyme disease also may cause your baby to have a rash after hes born.