What Are The Treatment Options For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease of all stages is treated with antibiotics.
- During the early stages of Lyme disease , the patients who are treated with antibiotics typically recover swiftly and fully. Doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime antibiotics are administered orally for 14 to 21 days. In the event of meningitis or other nerve-related issues, the patient will be administered intravenous ceftriaxone for 14 days.
- Patients with late disseminated Lyme disease are prescribed the same antibiotics, doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime, to take orally for 28 days. Other antibiotics could be prescribed depending on the condition of the patient. In the event of nervous system involvement, intravenous ceftriaxone or penicillin will be administered to the patient for two to four weeks.
Patients suffering from certain neurologic or cardiac illnesses may require special care.
If you suspect you have Lyme disease, you should consult your doctor immediately. Prevention and education are the most effective treatments for the disease.
Learn The Stages Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three. A bulls-eye rash is usually considered one of the first signs of infection, but many people develop a different kind of rash or none at all. In most cases, Lyme symptoms can start with a flu-like illness. If untreated, Lyme disease symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived debilitating illness.
How To Diagnose Lyme Disease
The diagnosis of Lyme disease is not easy. Infection-carrying ticks are fewer in number, and their bites are usually not painful. This makes it difficult for the patients to recollect being bitten by the ticks. Furthermore, most of the symptoms are shared by different disorders.
- If you locate a tick in your skin, you should remove it immediately with tweezers making sure the entire tick is extracted.
- Wait a few days to see if any symptoms appear. If they do, you must contact your primary care physician and discuss your symptoms.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have been ill for four weeks or longer. The doctor will examine the bite, search for a rash, and order blood tests to determine the presence of Lyme disease.
Special testing may be required for those who have joint swelling or nervous system disorders. The doctor may need to draw fluid from the swollen joint or the spine to look for signs of the illness.
However, these are not always required to make a diagnosis. They frequently produce false findings, particularly in early-stage Lyme disease.
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How To Diagnose Neuropathy
For most people, a diagnosis of neuropathy may be based upon a persons medical history, physical exam, lab work, and neurologic evaluation. The following tests can be useful to identify the condition, as well as rule out potential causes and contributing factors.
- Neurologic Exam: During a neurologic exam, your doctorusually a neurologistassesses reflexes ability to feel sensations like hot, cold, and pain coordination balance muscle strength and muscle tone.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests are run to assess nutritional deficiencies, organ function, toxins, and the presence of an atypical immune response.
- Electrodiagnostic Tests : EDX testing checks how well the muscles and nerves are functioning by measuring their electrical activity, which assists in determining the extent of nerve damage. Two commonly used procedures are electromyography and nerve conduction velocity . During an EMG, small needle electrodes are inserted through the skin into the muscle to measure the electrical activity while the muscle is at rest, during a mild contraction, and during a powerful contraction. Frequently, the NVC will be completed at the same time as the EMG, which helps further assess the amount and speed with which an electrical impulse moves through a nerve.
- Other Tests: The need for other testing will depend on the severity of your symptoms and could include specialized sensory testing, genetic testing, or a biopsy with tissue samples from a nerve, muscle, or skin.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
If you experience any of the below symptoms, it is important that you consult with your doctor. As mentioned, these symptoms are also common to other infections, but it is best to let your doctor define the diagnosis.
Lyme disease occurs in three stages of infection, your symptoms will be dependent on the stage you are currently in.
The stages are as follows:
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Follow A Doctors Advice On Vaccines
Doctors generally recommend that most people stay up to date with their vaccines.
However, they may advise a person with a weak or compromised immune system to delay or not receive certain shots.
If a short-term illness or a medication is responsible for the weak immune system, the person may be able to have the vaccine once the illness has resolved or they have stopped the treatment.
Examples of vaccines that doctors may recommend delaying or avoiding include:
- MMR vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella
CDC recommend a vaccination schedule that most people should try to follow. However, people with a weak immune system should check with a doctor which vaccines are safe for them to have and then follow the doctors recommendations. Vaccines can prevent a person from getting seriously ill.
Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Here, the stages of one and two can overlap. As the bacteria continues to spread, the rash may also spread to other areas of the body. Neurological symptoms may begin to affect the nervous system and heart. Other symptoms can include:
- Multiple erythema migrans skin lesions
- Pain and numbness in the legs or arms
- Inability to move muscles of the face
- Headaches and fainting continue to occur
- Inability to concentrate and loss of short-term memory
- Pinkeye can occur due to damage to the tissue of the eyes
- Brief moments of joint pain, including swelling and redness of the knees or other joints
- Heart problems can develop such as palpitations of the heart
Should you or a loved one be experiencing any of the following symptoms and are in an area known for cases of Lyme disease or have been bitten by a tick, it is important that you seek medical care from your doctor to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
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What Are The Long
Lyme disease can cause a host ofdifferent symptoms and ailments, but if caught early, it can be diagnosed andtreated with antibiotics specifically doxycycline. If left untreated, however, Lyme disease canprogress into a very serious condition that can affect a person for the rest oftheir life.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is categorized as a condition lasting over a period of months or evenyears that affects people who have been treated for Lyme disease withantibiotics. The disorder comes with awide array of different issues, including trouble with sleeping, chronicfatigue, and neurological problems such as confusion and even cognitivechanges.
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How Lyme Bacteria Can Outsmart The Human Immune System
Press release from University of Maryland:
A University of Maryland researcher has uncovered a mechanism by which the bacteria that causes Lyme disease persists in the body and fights your early, innate immune responses.
Dr. Utpal Pal, Professor in Veterinary Medicine, has been studying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria throughout his twelve years with UMD, and his work has already produced the protein marker used to identify this bacterial infection in the body.
Now, Dr. Pal has isolated a protein produced by the bacteria that disables one of the bodys first immune responses, giving insight into mechanisms that are largely not understood. He has also observed a never-before-seen phenomena demonstrating that even without this protein and with the immune system responding perfectly, the bacteria can spring back in the body weeks later.
Understanding this bacteria, which is among only a few pathogens that can actually persist in the body for long periods of time, has major implications for the treatment of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease, which is an increasingly chronic and consistently prevalent public health issue.
Most people dont realize that they actually are walking around with more bacterial cells in their bodies than their own cells, so we are really bags of bacteria, explains Pal. Most are good, but the second your body detects something that is a pathogen and can cause disease, your immune system starts to work.
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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
With early-stage Lyme disease, youâll take antibiotics for about 10 days to 3 weeks. The most common ones are amoxicillin, cefuroxime, and doxycycline. The antibiotics will almost always cure your infection. If they donât, you might get other antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot.
If you donât treat your Lyme infection, you might need oral antibiotics for symptoms like weakened face muscles and irregular heartbeat. You may need antibiotics if you have meningitis, inflammation in your brain and spinal cord, or more severe heart problems.
If your Lyme is late stage, the doctor might give you antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot. If it causes arthritis, youâll get arthritis treatment.
Thereâs no therapy for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
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How To Spot And Remove Ticks
Once youve come in from outside, one of the best ways to check yourself for ticks is to take a shower and bath.
Other than that, do your best to check your clothes, especially the folds of your clothes, knowing that ticks can be very small and hard to spot. Running your hands through your hair is also a good idea.
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When Do Symptoms Of Lyme Disease Appear
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the
infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage.
Symptoms may include:
- skin rash, which may or may not look like a bulls eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and fever
- muscle soreness and joint pain
- swollen lymph nodes
- sore throat
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme
Early disseminated Lyme may occur several weeks or months after the tick bite. Bacteria are beginning to spread throughout the body. In addition to flu-like symptoms, this stage is often characterized by increase in symptoms such as:
- pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs
- vision changes
- heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain
- rash may appear on body
- facial paralysis
Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Many have asked, do you ever get rid of Lyme disease? Can Lyme disease return? If Lyme disease isnt promptly or effectively treated in the first two stages, late disseminated Lyme occurs weeks, months or even years after the tick bite. The Lyme bacteria have spread throughout the body and many patients develop chronic arthritis as well as an increase in neurological and cardiac symptoms. Symptoms may include:
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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.
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Your Pain Moves Around Your Body
Another hallmark sign of Lyme is migratory pain â that is, pain that travels from one body part to the other. You might, for example, find that your right knee is hurting one day and your left knee is hurting the next. Common kinds of pain associated with Lyme include joint paint and nerve pains that create shooting or zapping sensations, says Reihman.
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How To Remove Ticks
Tick bites aren’t always painful. You may not notice a tick unless you see it on your skin. Check your skin and your children’s or pets’ skin after being outdoors.
To remove a tick:
The risk of getting ill is low. You don’t need to do anything else unless you become unwell.
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What If Ive Had Lyme Disease For Years
If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, the spirochetes can spread and may go into hiding in different parts of the body. Weeks, months or even years later, patients may develop problems with the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, heart and circulation, digestion, reproductive system, and skin.
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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Early Detection Is Key
Lyme disease is easiest to treat at the early or acute stage, within the first 30 days of exposure. This is why its so important to take precautions to prevent tick bites, both during and outside of tick season. Protect yourself when near potential tick habitats, always perform tick checks after outdoor activity , and dont delay seeking medical attention if you notice any symptoms that might be related to tick-borne illness. Its important to get tested as soon as possible for the best chances of recovery.
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Which Organs Are Affected By Lyme Disease
The organs affected by Lyme varydepending on the severity of the illness and how early it is caught andtreated. In the early stages, the disease attacks mostly the immune system,compromising its ability to fight off the infection. As the disease spreads, itdoes so throughout the entire body, affecting every organ it reaches.
As Lyme can affect all the organs in thebody, it can cause a variety of problems. The symptoms that occur with Lyme diseasecan also mimic other conditions, like the flu as mentioned above, or moreserious conditions such as ALS/MND , MS , fibromyalgia, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and over 300 otherconditions.
Image by on : The spread of Lyme disease bacteria cells works a lot like the cells of the immune response.
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Untreated Lyme Disease Frequency
Its difficult to get exact numbers when it comes to Lyme disease, in part because theres only limited accounting of the conditions frequency overall, and its often misdiagnosed or mistaken for other conditions.
Currently, its estimated that 476,000 people develop it in the United States every year, with 81% of the cases clustered in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and mid-Atlantic regions.
A significantbut shrinkingproportion of those with the disease end up progressing without treatment. Current estimates are hard to come by. In 2012, researchers estimated that about 16% of Lyme disease cases present without rashincreasing the chance that the case is missed, overall. From 1.6% to 7% of all infections have no symptoms.
Knowledge and awareness of this disease have grown over the past couple of decades, greatly improving outcomes. This improving prognosis is associated with better care and detection, leading to timelier intervention.
If you live in a hot spot area for black-legged ticks, never hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional if youre feeling sick or have a rash.
Lyme Disease Rashes And Look
Circular, expanding rash with target-like appearance.
Expanding rash with central crust
Expanding lesion with central crust on chest.
Expanding erythema migrans
Photo Credit: Reprinted from Bhate C, Schwartz RA. Lyme disease: Part I. Advances and perspectivesexternal icon. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 64:619-36, with permission from Elsevier.
Description:Early, expanding erythema migrans with nodule.
Multiple rashes, disseminated infection
Early disseminated Lyme disease multiple lesions with dusky centers.
Red, oval plaque
Red, expanding oval-shaped plaque on trunk.
Expanding rash with central clearing
Circular, expanding rash with central clearing.
Bluish hued rash, no central clearing
Bluish hued without central clearing.
Expanding lesion, no central clearing
Expanding lesion without central clearing on back of knee.
Red-blue lesion with central clearing
Red-blue lesion with some central clearing on back of knee.
Insect bite hyper-sensitivity
Large itchy rash caused by an allergic reaction to an insect bite.
Fixed drug reaction
Description:A skin condition that occurs up to two weeks after a person takes a medication. The skin condition reappears at the same location every time a person takes that particular medication.
Description:Ringworm is a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. Its called ringworm because it can cause a ring-shaped rash that is usually red and itchy with raised edges.
Pityriasis rosea rash
Granuloma annulare rash
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