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.
Stage : Small Oval Rashes Or A Reddish Lump
When a tick that causes Lyme disease bites you, it infects you with bacteria. Without treatment, the bacteria can spread to other areas of your body. Stage 2 begins when the bacteria spread to other parts of your body.
During this stage, you may see small, oval rashes on your skin. Some people develop a bluish-red lump.
Where you see these signs: Because the infection has spread, small rashes can appear anywhere on your skin, except for your palms and soles. Most rashes appear on the arms, legs, and face.
Some people develop a lump, which your doctor may refer to as borrelial lymphocytoma. In children, this lump tends to appear on an earlobe. Adults often see a raised growth form around a nipple.
Borrelial lymphocytoma on a childs ear
This can appear in stage 2 of Lyme disease.
What you may see on your skin: The rashes that appear during stage 2 differ from the rash that can appear in stage 1. In stage 2, the rashes stay the same size rather than grow larger.
When the rashes, lump, and symptoms begin: About 30 to 45 days after the tick bites you, you may notice rashes or a lump. These can also take longer to appear, sometimes six months or more.
Some people develop symptoms, which make them feel ill, including:
Shortness of breath and dizzy spells
Bells palsy, which causes one half of the face to droop
Heart problems, such as chest pains or an irregular heartbeat
Can Lyme Disease Rash Itch
If you develop a Lyme disease rash, you probably won’t be scratching your skin until it’s raw. Still, Lyme disease rashes can be slightly itchy, even mildly painful, said Dr. Aucott, but they don’t itch like a case of poison ivy.
Lyme rashes often feel warm to the touch as well. Your healthcare provider may perform what’s called a “crossover test” to gauge whether the area feels warmer than the rest of your skin, said Dr. Johnson. Here’s what that involves: Let’s say the rash is behind one knee. You place one hand on the rash and your other hand in the same area of the unaffected knee, wait a few seconds, and then switch hands. If there’s a difference in temperature, you’ll notice it.
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What Are The Physical Characteristics Of Erythema Migrans In Patients With Lyme Disease
EM is the characteristic rash of Lyme disease. Classic EM is a flat to slightly raised erythematous lesion that appears at the site of the tick bite after 1-33 days bite . Without therapy, erythema migrans typically fades within 3-4 weeks.
EM usually is round or oval, but can be triangular or linear. Often, a central punctum is evident at the bite site.
EM enlarges by a few centimeters per day single lesions typically achieve a diameter of approximately 16 cm , but lesions as large as 70 cm have been reported. The case definition for Lyme disease used by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifies that EM be greater than 5 cm in size. This size cutoff is only meant to be used for epidemiologic purposes, however EM smaller than 5 cm has occasionally been documented in culture-proven cases.
The entire lesion may be uniform in color or have central darkening. Central clearing is more common in European patients than in North American patients. More proximal to the clearing may be additional erythema leading to a so-called bulls eye or target appearance however, this phenomenon, emphasized in the earlier literature, occurs only in a minority of patients . See the images below.
Feder HM Jr. Lyme disease in children. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2008 Jun. 22:315-26, vii. .
Edlow JA. Bulls Eye Unraveling the Medical Mystery of Lyme Disease. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press 2004.
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Phase : Early Localized Disease
A characteristic flat, red ring or bulls-eye rash develops in 75% of those who have been bitten by a tick infected with Lyme disease. The rash appears days to weeks after the bite and spreads outward. The bulls-eye rash is called erythema migrans. Some people dont notice or remember being bitten by a tick either because the tick was too small or a rash never appeared. Someone with newly acquired Lyme disease may suffer from fatigue, headache, joint and muscle stiffness, and swollen glands. Later stages of the disease affect the heart, joints, and nervous system.
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What Looks Like Lyme Disease But Isnt
Sometimes rashes that form due to other health conditions can appear the same as a Lyme disease rash. Thats why its important to know the difference between the rashes and symptoms of the condition. Many other symptoms of Lyme disease also present as other conditions, which is why it is aptly nicknamed The Great Imitator. In some cases, a typical allergic reaction caused by a bug bite can also be mistaken for Lyme disease.
Image by on Is a Lyme disease rash flat or raised?
Other types of rashes that may be confused with a Lyme disease rash include:
- Ringworm: Ringworm is a fungal infection that appears as a ring-shaped rash, much like Lyme disease rashes.
- Pityriasis rosea rash: Oval, pink, scaly dots appear on the skin with raised borders. They could be mistake for the Lyme disease rashes that appear in stage 2.
- Granuloma annulare rash: This type of rash presents as red bumps on the skin that are in a circular pattern, similar to the shape of a Lyme disease rash.
- Urticaria multiform: This rash, otherwise known as hives, appears as red welts on the skin that can be separated or form into one larger lesion.
Featured image by Nicooografie on Pixabay
Is There A Cure For Lyme Disease
Antibiotics can cure Lyme disease. Different stages of disease may be treated with different antibiotics. Treatment choices also depend on the areas of the body involved. Oral amoxicillin , cefuroxime axetil , and doxycycline are often used to treat the early stages of Lyme disease. A bulls-eye skin rash after a tick bite is a reason to see the doctor urgently for treatment. The rash typically resolves in about 1 or 2 weeks with antibiotic treatment. Intravenous medications such as ceftriaxone may be necessary to treat later stages of Lyme disease.
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Bulls Eye Rash: A Lyme Disease Symptom Breakdown
by Lyme Mexico | Jun 21, 2022 | Symptoms |
There are many Lyme Disease symptoms to read about and breakdown. Today we breakdown a common symptom, bulls eye rash. Read more below
Bites and stings produce different symptoms, especially in the area around the spot where the insect made contact. Knowing the difference is essential to see if you should seek treatment. Here is a brief breakdown of common bites and stings:
- Mosquito bites leave round puffy bumps that can turn red and itch
- Fire ant stings leave red spots with small blisters in the center
- Flea bites are tiny red, itchy bumps
- Chigger bites can be welts, pimples, hives, or blisters that are itchy and painful
- Dangerous spiders leave two puncture marks side by side that produces a raised papule or blister some appear with a red rash and white center
- Bee stings leave white marks at the site of the sting with redness, swelling, and itchiness
- Wasp stings leave raised welts, redness, itchiness, and burning
Another common insect bite is from a deer tick, which occurs hundreds of thousands of times every year. There are significant differences between a deer tick and all other insects in how they bite and the after-effects.
Where Are Ticks Found
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.
They can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
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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.
How Can I Prevent Tick Bites Altogether
If your yard is on the wild side or youve got plans to go hiking, camping, or walking through the forest or mountains, youre in prime tick territory, per the CDC, and you’ll find ticks in highly wooded, humid areas like forests and trails. Headed somewhere you know might be tick-heavy? Spray your clothing, shoes, and camping gear with insecticides that contain 0.5 percent permethrin, Thomas Mather, PhD, director of the Center for Vector-Borne Disease at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, tells Women’s Health.
You should also try wearing colorful clothing , long-sleeves, and full-length pants, being sure to tuck your hanging sleeves into your gloves and shoes. Reapply your tick repellent throughout your day, and do careful tick checks after you’ve been outside for a significant amount of time. You can also keep tabs on local tick activity in your area by contacting your states health department .
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Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early. These can include:
- pain and swelling in the joints
- nerve problems such as numbness or pain in your limbs
- memory problems
- difficulty concentrating
Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment. But they can persist if treatment is started late.
A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens. It’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.
What Do You Do If There’s A Tick Under Your Skin
Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick are still in your skin, try to get those with the tweezers, too. After everything is out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
You probably wonât get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.
How do you throw away a tick?
Put it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.
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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 bulls-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. Its 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.
What Are Symptoms Of Chronic Lyme Disease In Dogs
Symptoms of ChronicLymeDisease in Dogs. The symptoms of Lymedisease occur some time after the tick bite, usually 2 to 5 months. Most common symptoms are: Fever. Sudden lameness the lameness episodes can last 3 to 4 days and then disappear for weeks. Swelling of the joints. Swollen lymph nodes. Myositis
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Treatment For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be easily cured with antibiotics. The particular type of antibiotic used depends on certain stages of the disease.
Early illness is usually treated with medications taken by mouth, for example, doxycycline , amoxicillin , or cefuroxime axetil . The medicine suits the particular area affected, resulting in a rapid cure for Lyme disease.
If the lyme disease is chronic or persistent then it can be treated with the help of intravenous antibiotics for at least 14 to 20 days. The symptoms would start to improve slowly and this way of treatment would eliminate the infection. However, there is still no known reason as to why some people suffer from joint pain even when the bacteria has been destroyed from the body.
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How Long Does It Take For The Bullseye Rash To Show Up
Rash. From three to 30 days after an infected tick bite, an expanding red area might appear that sometimes clears in the center, forming a bulls-eye pattern. The rash expands slowly over days and can spread to 12 inches across.
Can you have Lyme for years and not know it?
But I dont want people to think that this is common. Its quite unusual, said Farber, the infectious disease specialist. For the overwhelming majority of people who have Lyme disease, its been diagnosed and treated, and even when its not diagnosed, they dont go on to develop those symptoms, he stressed.
Can stress cause a Lyme flare up?
Stress, it turns out, is a leading factor in Lyme relapse. Getting that stressed out is like walking into a minefield of ticks, my doctor told me. Stress causes a release of cortisol, which can speed up the reproduction of Lyme bacteria.
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What Is The Rash From Lyme Disease
The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a rash, medically called an erythema migrans lesion. Often known as a bulls-eye rash, the skin infection spreads gradually from the site of the tick bite in a widening circle. The rash typically forms within seven days after an individual is bitten and can persist for more than a month.
What is a Lyme tick?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by Ixodes ticks, also known as deer ticks, and on the West Coast, black-legged ticks. These tiny arachnids are typically found in wooded and grassy areas. Although people may think of Lyme as an East Coast disease, it is found throughout the United States,
Does everyone get the telltale bullseye rash?
No. A certain kind of rash, called erythema migrans , is a telltale symptom of Lyme disease , and if you have it call your doctor immediately. But not everyone who has Lyme exhibits a rash, much less the bullseye rash so often associated with Lyme disease.
Which Areas Are More Likely To Have It
The tick that causes Lyme disease has been moving from the Northeast and upper Midwest into the Southern and Western U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Cases in California and Florida are on the rise. After a drop between 2017 and 2018, the numbers jumped a little bit in 2019.
But most Lyme cases in 2019 were in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC, is also a hotspot.
In 2019, Pennsylvania had the most Lyme infections, with 6,763. New York was next, with 2,847 cases.
In the Southern U.S., where itâs hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they don’t dry out. This means people donât get Lyme from Southern ticks very often because they don’t usually come out to bite.
Even though people only report about 30,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year, there are actually around 476,000 a year. The same tick also can spread other diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus. Those diseases are also on the rise in the U.S.
Whoâs likeliest to get Lyme disease?
Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thatâs because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.
Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?
There are several reasons why Lyme is spreading. Some of these are:
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