How To Remove A Tick
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.
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.
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Impact Of Covid On The Brain
A new writing in Science has been published, Nervous System Consequences of COVID 19. In this writing authors discuss an array of symptoms such as frequent headaches, intractable fatigue, sensory disturbances, autonomic dysfunction, depression, psychological impacts, and in severe cases, delusions and paranoia, that may persist for months after initial infection, now called Long COVID.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , the inflammation symptoms of COVID impact on the brain are similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or post-Lyme disease. Individuals often experience stigma, employment difficulties, and mental health challenges due to these conditions making diagnostic certainty and therapeutic interventions greatly needed to address this growing public health concern.
Access to Science full text article here
Access to the Open Access Government article here
Find additional LDA articles on COVID & Lyme here
LDA May Lyme Awareness Blogs Begin May 1
Topics of Guest Blogs:Guest Blog Page of the website.
Pat Smith: Milestones in 47-year History of Lyme Disease & Her Story
Presented by PA Lyme Resources Impact Series May 2022
The HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, Washington, DC, created by legislation including patient/advocate representation, presents recommendations to Congress on Lyme & TBD every two years. Read More
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Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine for Lyme disease. But you can avoid Lyme disease by avoiding tick bites, checking for ticks, and removing ticks promptly, before they become lodged in the skin. Some tips:
Avoid tick playgrounds: Ticks like low-level shrubs and grasses, particularly at the edges of wooded areas. If youre hiking, try to stay in the center of the trail and avoid bushwhacking. Walk on cleared paths or pavement through wooded areas and fields when possible.
Dress appropriately: Long pants with legs tucked into socks and closed-toed shoes will help keep ticks away from skin. Light-colored clothing helps make ticks visible.
Insect repellant: Products that contain DEET repel ticks but do not kill them and are not 100 percent effective. Use a brand of insect repellent that is designated as child-safe if your child is 1 year or older. For infants, check with your pediatrician about what brands are safe to use. You can also treat clothing with a product that contains permethrin, which is known to kill ticks on contact.
Shower after outdoor activities are done for the day. It may take four to six hours for ticks to attach firmly to skin. Showering will help remove unattached ticks.
- all parts of the body that bend: behind the knees, between fingers and toes, underarms and groin
- other areas where ticks are commonly found: belly button, in and behind the ears, neck, hairline, and top of the head
- anywhere clothing presses on the skin
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What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.
The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.
If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.
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.
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Tick Removal And Testing
A tool to assist people in removing attached ticks and seeking health care, if appropriate, after a tick bite.
If you find a tick attached to your skin, simply remove the tick as soon as possible. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers works very well.
What Can People Do To Protect Themselves From Lyme And Other Tick
Dapsis says there are a number of things people can do to protect themselves from becoming a meal for the tiny arthropods, the terrorists of the forest floor, and he has enumerated them in a series of short videos on fighting tick-borne disease.
The first line of defense is to spray clothingespecially footgearwith permethrin, a medication and insecticide that Dapsis says The Food and Drug Administration deems safe for attire used by adults and clothing.
Spray shoes until they are visibly wet and spray again after four weeks, Dapsis says.
Dose pants to mid-thigh on the exterior and from the knee down inside, he says.
Spray clothes while they are off your body and dont apply permethrin to skin.
A tick on a surface treated with permethrin will start lifting its eight legs like its got a hot foot, Dapsis says. After 60 seconds of exposure, its a goner.
People who arent interested in the do-it-yourself approach to permethrin treatment can purchase pre-treated clothing or pay for a service to treat their clothes, such as Insect Shield.
Dapsis also advises people coming in from outdoors to throw their clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes. The heat will kill moisture-loving ticks.
Tick checks are also important, but when the tiny nymphs are out the best approach is to use fingertips to feel ticks that may be too small to see, Dapsis says.
Sticking to the center of trails and avoiding bushy vegetation can help people avoid contact with ticks, Lewis says.
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Chronic Lyme Disease Vs Ptlds
The terms chronic Lyme disease and Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome are sometimes used interchangeably. However, PTLDS is slightly more restrictive, referring to patients who have received treatment for Lyme disease but go on to experience Lyme disease symptoms. It does not include those who received a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis and have developed chronic symptoms of Lyme disease before receiving any kind of treatment.
The CDC defines PTLDS as generalized and/or recurring pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties that last for more than 6 months after treatment. These mirror symptoms associated with chronic Lyme disease, with or without treatment.
Who’s At Risk Of Lyme Disease
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
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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.
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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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.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a circular rash around the tick bite. The rash:
- usually develops around 3 to 30 days after you’ve been bitten
- is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board
- will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised
- may get bigger over several days or weeks
- is typically around 15 cm across, but it can be much larger or smaller
Some people may develop several rashes in different parts of their body.
Around 1 in 3 people with Lyme disease won’t develop a rash.
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Resources For Maine Residents
Public Law, Chapter 340, LD 597, 126th Maine State Legislature: An Act to Inform Persons of the Options for the Treatment of Lyme Disease
- Acknowledges difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease
- Information on risks of long term antibiotic therapy
Public Law, Chapter 235, LD 422, 127th Maine State Legislature: An Act to Improve Access to Treatments for Lyme Disease
- Allows licensed physicians to prescribe long-term antibiotic therapy to eliminate infection or to control a patients symptoms
How Are Dogs Tested For Lyme Disease
Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.
The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called C6. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness.
The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary.
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Notes On Serologic Tests For Lyme Disease
- While not necessary, acute and convalescent serologies may be useful for diagnosis in some cases, such as for patients with suspected re-infection.
- Serologic tests cannot be used to measure treatment response.
- Other conditions, including some tickborne infections and autoimmune diseases, can result in false positive test results.
NOTE: Coinfection with Babesia microti or Anaplasma phagocytophilum should be considered in patients who present with initial symptoms that are more severe than are commonly observed with Lyme disease alone, especially in those who have high-grade fever for more than 48 hours despite appropriate antibiotic therapy or who have unexplained leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, or anemia. Coinfection should also be considered in patients whose erythema migrans skin lesion has resolved but who have persistent systemic symptoms.
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.
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Are Newer More Effective Treatments On The Horizon
Lewis team has developed a possible treatment that uses a targeted antibiotic to eradicate the spiral-shaped bacterium causing Lyme disease that doesnt appear to harm the gut microbiome the way broad spectrum antibiotics such as doxycycline appear to do.
Its possible that damage to the microbiome is associated with the cardiac, neurological and immune system problems associated with chronic Lyme, Lewis says.
Treatment with the antibiotic known as Hygromycin A has cleared Lyme disease in lab mice, Lewis says.
His team has licensed the compound to a biotech company called Flightpath for further development and a clinical investigation.
If all goes well with Flightpaths plans, it will still be a couple of years before Hygromycin A is tested in FDA-approved trials, Lewis says.
This just shows you the importance of preventing a tick bite in the first place, says Dapsis, who calls himself an anti-Lyme evangelist.
He says Lyme disease isnt just a New England problem. Its in 49 statesevery state but Hawaii.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not consistent and may mimic other conditions. The primary symptom is a rash, but it may not be present in up to 20% of cases.
Diagnosis for Lyme disease must be made by a healthcare provider experienced in recognizing Lyme disease. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Testing is generally done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions. This may need blood and other lab tests.
Research is underway to develop and improve methods for diagnosing Lyme disease.
The symptoms of Lyme disease may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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