When To See Your Gp
You should contact your GP or dial NHS 111 promptly if you feel unwell with any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick or after spending time in areas where ticks may live.
Take this leaflet with you if you are unsure what to say and remember to let your GP know if youve recently had a tick bite or spent time in areas where ticks may live.
Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions. A spreading erythema migrans rash appearing some days after a known tick bite is characteristic and should be treated with antibiotics.
If you dont have this rash but do have other symptoms of Lyme disease, blood tests can be carried out that look for antibodies against the borrelia bacteria.
Blood tests can be negative in the early stages of the infection as the antibodies take some time to reach levels that can be detected.
You may need to be re-tested if Lyme disease is still suspected 4 to 6 weeks after a first negative test result.
If you have long-lasting symptoms, you may be referred to a specialist in microbiology, infectious diseases, rheumatology, or neurology as appropriate for further investigation and management.
Why Is Lyme Disease So Difficult To Diagnose
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through the bite of infected deer ticks. One common symptom of Lyme is a red rash on the skin , that appears at the site of a tick bite usually within a week, but up to a month later. Some people may not experience a rash, or may mistake it for a spider bite. Other symptoms like fever, chills, headache, fatigue, joint aches and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of a rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If Lyme is not diagnosed immediately, the bacteria start to spread to other parts of the body the joints, the nervous system and the heart. Eventually, arthritis sets in, along with extreme fatigue and general aches and pains. These can also be symptoms of other conditions, which is part of the reason why Lyme is difficult to diagnose. Aside from the initial rash, there are no symptoms that are specifically indicative of Lyme disease.
Theres also no definitive way to test for Lyme disease. There is no direct blood test for the bacteria that causes Lyme. Doctors have to rely on antibody tests, which merely measure the immune systems response to the bacteria. Further complicating matters, studies have shown that those tests arent always accurate and can have poor sensitivity and false results in some cases.
Until a foolproof test exists, diagnosing Lyme disease, especially late-stage Lyme, is an imperfect science.
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Symptoms Of Mast Cell Activation
Patients with this syndrome have intent anxiety and depression. They may experience headaches, ringing in the years, sore throats, swollen lymph nodes and indigestion. Unusual neurological symptoms like numbness and tingling in different body parts as well as paralysis and pseudo seizures or possible. The basic principles of treatment are to reduce the production of biochemicals coming from the mast cells. It is important to identify what is triggering the activation in the first place. When the triggers are eliminated the mast cell activation of this appears. In addition, there are many pharmaceutical antihistamines and natural products that are effective.
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Learn More About Lyme Disease Treatment
When youre experiencing Lyme disease symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Constantine Kotsanis at the Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine. He has years of experience treating Lyme disease, and he understands the seriousness of Lyme disease treatment. Best of all, he is committed to ensuring his patients stay as healthy as possible. Lyme disease is curable, so getting effective Lyme disease treatment will help resolve your symptoms and ensure your health remains intact.
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Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
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
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
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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What Should You Do If You Find A Tick
Dont touch the tick with your bare hand.
Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your skin as possible.
Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Dont squeeze the tick, and dont use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.
Save the tick. Place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if needed.
Wash the bite area well with soap and water and put an antiseptic lotion or cream on the site.
Chronic Lyme: What Happens When Lyme Goes Untreated
The Lyme community typically uses the term chronic Lyme disease to describe a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that crop up after getting Lyme disease and persist for months to years after infection.
The risk of chronic Lyme increases the longer a Lyme infection goes untreated or undertreated. In other words, patients are more likely to recover fully if their Lyme infection is detected and treated as early as possible after the discovery of a tick bite. This stage is usually marked by symptoms such as fevers, chills, muscle aches, and sometimes rashes.
When left untreated or undertreated, however, Lyme disease can spread throughout the body and affect:
- The central nervous system
- Muscles and joints
As Lymedisease.org points out, these symptoms can evolve, disappear, and reappear at different times.
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease
Most of the people who get Lyme disease and are treated early will be fine.
Even after proper treatment, some patients may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This does not signify ongoing infection and will not respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms resolve over the next one to six months.
Chronic Lyme Syndrome
Chronic Lyme syndrome is a term used by some that includes the symptoms of Post-Lyme syndrome outlined above. This is a controversial topic with no accepted etiology and no proven cause or association.
Why A Lyme Literate Doctor
Working with a Lyme literate doctor is essential to success in overcoming your symptoms. While most doctors are familiar with the disease, Lyme literate doctors have specialized in it. Meaning, they have more knowledge of newer treatments. They have the cutting edge equipment to perform the latest treatments in their office. They can create a protocol of multiple alternative therapies based on your specific symptoms rather than a generic, one-size-fits-all antibiotic treatment.
As you already know, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment that works because symptoms are different for each person with Lyme disease. Further on are a few therapies with great reviews.
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Inflammation Causes Most Of The Symptoms: The Cytokine Cascade
If you can lower the inflammation in the body, you can become symptom free even if the microbes are still present. Lyme disease is due to the immune system reaction to microbes and toxins. Most symptoms are caused by the immune system attacking the tissues and places were the microbes hide out. Additionally, there is usually the presence of heavy metals, mold infections, and other viral infections. The Lyme spirochetes invade the skin, heart, brain, blood vessels, lymphatics, muscles, tendons, joints spleen and every organ in the body. They can live for months to years. In all cases I treat the inflammatory cytokine Cascade.
The Signs And Symptoms Of Untreated Lyme Disease
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With the growing awareness of Lyme disease, many worry they have the illness. To contract Lyme, a blacklegged tick must attach to you for roughly 1 to 2 days. Thats how long it typically takes for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease to transfer into your blood.
However, not everyone who develops Lyme remembers a tick bite. Ticks are so small and can latch in hidden areas like the scalp or groin. And tick bites are most often painless.
So how would you know if you have Lyme disease? The signs and symptoms tend to follow a clear pattern.
Within a few days to one month after the tick bite, most people start to develop symptoms. If you dont recall a bite, you might trace your symptoms to when you went camping or hiking.
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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 can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
Theyre common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks dont jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something theyre on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, youre 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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Doxycycline For Lyme Disease
The Lyme bacteria can exist in 3 different forms: Spirochete, cell wall deficient and cyst form. Different antibiotics address different forms due to the way they work. For example, an antibiotic that works by shooting holes thru the bacterial cell wall might be good for the spirochete form but will not be good for the cell wall deficient form.
The cell wall deficient forms are attacked by doxycycline.
Doxycycline is largely lipophilic, that is, it is drawn to fat molecules, which make it more absorbable. Doxycyclines penetration is dose dependent. At 200 mg per day, it is considered bacteriostatic while at 400 mg a day it is considered bactericidal. Bactericidal can kill the bacteria. It is these higher doses that allow the medication more effectively to enter the brain and the central nervous system.
Recent research confirms that tetracyclines inhibit the inflammatory response seen in Lyme disease. Doxycycline reduces the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8. These are inflammatory markers that are known to be elevated in Lyme disease.
Doxycycline is also thought to be neuroprotective. The mechanism is inhibition of microglia activation and the reduction of free radicals that can damage and destroy neurons. These findings are significant not only for Lyme disease patients, but also in cases of stroke, Parkinsons disease, CNS trauma, multiple sclerosis, ALS, and others. It does cross the blood-brain barrier.
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Can You Prevent Lyme Disease
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to protect yourself from ticks. Cover up as much skin as you can when youre going to be in wooded or grassy areas. Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants with the legs tucked into your socks. And keep in mind that its easier to see ticks on light-coloured clothes.
Use a bug repellent that has the chemical DEET to keep away ticks. Use products that contain 0.5% permethrin on your clothing and outdoor gear, such as your tent. You can also buy clothing already treated with permethrin. Permethrin is not available as an insect repellent in Canada, but travel health clinics may be able to advise you on how to buy permethrin or permethrin-treated gear.
Check your pets for ticks after theyve been outside. You cant get Lyme disease from your pet. But your pet can bring infected ticks inside. These ticks can fall off your pet and attach to you. Check your clothing and outdoor gear after you have been outside. Remove any ticks you find. Then put your clothing in a clothes dryer on high heat for 1 hour to kill any ticks that might remain.
Lyme Dissemination Early And Late Disease
Early disease at 3-30 days after an infectious tick bite is the time to find it and treat. This phase is curable if treated promptly with oral antibiotics. In the next phase of 1-12 weeks after an infected tick bite there is early dissemination. At this point good response is still seen with antibiotics. Unfortunately, in the late stage more than 3 months after bite there is a complex multisystem multiorgan progressive disabling disease. These are the patients I see in my office. The treatment is multimodal. The main objective is to increase the patients immune system. There are immune therapies are instituted as well as SOT from RGCC and other therapies.
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Why Is Chronic Persistent Lyme So Severe Infections
In these patients there appears to be a high spirochete load through either multiple tick bites or long duration that was unrecognized by them. Interestingly many people do not remember a bite or get a rash. After long duration there is a creation of biofilms were protected niches made up of mucopolysaccharides are formed. In addition, there are alternative forms of Lyme such as the cyst form and the L form which cause an additional suppression to the patients immune system.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease causes a range of symptoms that change and intensify as the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, first introduced by the tick, spread to the rest of the body. Untreated cases can cause serious problems or lead to a fatal condition. Whats tricky, too, is that the onset of initial symptoms occurs anywhere from three to 30 days after exposure.
Clinically, there are three stages of Lyme disease: early localized disease, early disseminated disease, and late disseminated disease. Early localized disease, the initial manifestation, is characterized by:
- Bullseye rash and swelling,the most notorious symptom, occurs in 70% to 80% of cases. Clinically referred to as erythema migrans, its appearance variesit can be a different color or shapeespecially in people of color. It arises about a week after exposure to the bacteria.
- Other symptoms of the first stage include fever, fatigue, headache, and joint pain. Very often, those with the conditionespecially if there is no rashfeel as if theyre experiencing the flu.
Disseminated Lyme disease symptoms arise as the bacterial infection works its way to other bodily systems, organs, and structures. Typically a month or more after exposureand potentially chronicsymptoms have changed and include:
In its late disseminated phase, the bacterial infection has begun affecting nerve and joint structures, causing significant complications. Chronic arthritis, continued swelling of the brain , and nerve damage can all result.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Untreated Lyme Disease
A person should look for medical attention if he observes any signs of a tick bite, reside in an area popular for Lyme disease, or if they have traveled from a place where Lyme disease is common.
If the disease is not treated, it can cause various other infections. The most common infections include fever, rashes on the skin, paralysis in the facial area and arthritis.
Early Signs and Symptoms of the Lyme disease:
These symptoms happen in the first 3-30 days after the tick bite. If the rashes are not present, then the symptoms like chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, the and swollen lymph nodes, fever, etc. happen.
- Erythema migrans rash:
- Happens to around 70 to 80 % of the people who get infected from the disease.
- it starts spreading from the area of the bite and the time span of spread in 3-30 days.
- Infection increases gradually as the days pass and reach up to more than 12 inches.
- There is a feeling of hotness on the infected areas and there are less itchiness and pain.
- At some cases, the infection clears with the expansion, which then shapes itself into a bulls-eye shape.
- The infection can happen in any area of the body
- Mostly it is different from the erythema migrans rash
Signs and Symptoms WHICH HAPPENS IN THE LYME DISEASE AT LATER STAGES:
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A Long Journey Of Pain And Misdiagnosis
Tait estimates that she had Lyme for about 15 years before she was diagnosed. She thinks she was bitten by a tick as a teen in Californias Bay Area, where she grew up. In high school, she was a dancer. Suddenly she was getting injured more than usual joints coming out of their sockets and ligaments tearing after doing normal routines. During class, she was exhausted and having trouble concentrating. Her grades started to slip.
Looking back, its now clear I was neurologically starting to not be myself, she said. But when youre a teenager, a lot of it is just attributed to, Youre a teenager!
Tait, who was thin with a bubbly personality, recalled one doctor telling her she was too pretty to be sick.
Eventually she was diagnosed with depression and prescribed an antidepressant.
In college, Tait started to experience seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy.
My fatigue was getting worse, she said. I was dropping out of classes left and right and I would get sick constantly. Thats where this weird sort of self-fulfilling prophecy came in: I was depressed. But I wasnt sick because I was depressed. I was depressed because I was sick.
But once they put epilepsy down , at least I had turned a corner where they had a label on something, Tait continued. Then would just add things You have fibromyalgia and you probably also have chronic fatigue syndrome. But they didnt tell me how to fix it. Everything was, Try antidepressants because we dont really know.
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