How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
How old you are
Lyme disease in the earliest stage is usually treated with antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks.
Treatment will also be considered based on these and other factors:
If you are bitten by a tick that tests positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease
If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms
If you are bitten by a tick and are pregnant
If you are bitten by a tick and live in a high-risk area
What To Do If Tick Bites You
See Your Doctor After A Tick Bite If You Notice A Bulls
Do the same if you notice a bite either from a tick you found or from an unknown source thats not acting like a mosquito bite. If the rash is any bigger than a highly localized red spot like a mosquito bite then go see a doctor, he says. Likewise, see your doctor if you feel any flu-like symptoms, muscles aches, or chills within a week to 10 days of the bite, all of which can be indicative of tick-borne infections, he adds.
If a doctor suspects you may have contracted Lyme or some other type of infection, he or she will prescribe antibiotics, either oral or possibly intravenous, to treat the problem.
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What Can A Workplace Or Home Do To Reduce The Presence Of Ticks
Keep the lawn and yard well maintained to prevent ticks from living near the home or workplace.
- Keep the grass mowed. Trim trees and shrubs.
- Remove leaf litter, brush, and weeds at the edge of the lawn, and around stonewalls and woodpiles.
- Clean up and seal stonewalls and small openings around the home to help discourage rodents.
- Keep stacked firewood piles and bird feeders away from buildings.
- Keep any pets, particularly dogs, out of the woods and talk to your veterinarian about tick repellents for your pets.
- Move childrens swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodlands edge and use a woodchip or mulch foundation.
- Consider using hard landscape items such as woodchips, mulch, stones, gravel, tile, or metals.
- Create a border or barrier between the lawn, woods, or stonewalls to discourage deer and rodent activity.
- Widen woodland trails.
Recognizing The Rash After A Tick Bite
It is important to understand that a rash is not always present or easily recognizable in early Lyme disease, and this can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment.
Please refer to our poster of varied Lyme disease rash manifestations as a helpful identification tool.
When present, it is wise to take a picture of the rash with the date for your medical record, since a rash compatible with erythema migrans rash should prompt urgent evaluation and treatment. Lyme disease is most successfully treated in this first stage.
If you have a suspicious rash or your symptoms persist, please seek medical care immediately.
The erythema migrans Lyme disease rash is:
- Round or oval, enlarges in size over days/weeks, & will not fade in a few days
- Usually greater than 2 inches in diameter, often 6-8
- Usually uniformly red
- Sometimes but not often, a bulls eye rash with a red ring surrounding a clear area and red center
- Minimally tender, minimally itchy , and sometimes warm
- Often confused with spider bites
The incubation period from tick bite to rash is usually 3-10 days but can be 30 days.
The Lyme rash can spread through the bloodstream to other areas of the skin.
Sometimes blisters develop in the center of the rash.
Tick bite reactions are often confused with the rash of Lyme disease.
Tick bite reactions:
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Tick Bites And Removal On Humans
The CDC shares that there is, believe it or not, a proper way to remove a tick that has already bitten you. Heres how:
CDC TIP: Do not crush the tick with your fingers! Instead, put the tick in alcohol, place it in a sealed bag or container, wrap it tightly in tape, or flush it down the toilet.
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What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:
Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease
Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
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Where Do Ticks Bite
You can find a tick bite anywhere. However, although they can and do attach to any part of the body, there are certain body parts they more commonly move toward, like the hairline, or in tucked-away places, like the armpits, groin, and behind knees, says Dill. Thats because ticks have heat sensors that allow them to seek out warmer, moist places. Recently, doctors even discovered a tick attached to a 9-year-old boys eardrum.
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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How To Remove A Tick
Removing a tick is the same for humans and animals. Its important you do not crush or damage the tick because it could cause Lyme bacteria to pass from the tick into your bloodstream.
How to remove a tick.
What Are Ticks What Do Ticks Look Like
Ticks are small arachnids. Ticks require blood meals to complete their complex life cycles. Ticks are scientifically classified as Arachnida . The fossil record suggests ticks have been around at least 90 million years. There are over 800 species of ticks throughout the world, but only two families of ticks, Ixodidae and Argasidae , are known to transmit diseases or illness to humans. Hard ticks have a scutum, or hard plate, on their back while soft ticks do not. Tickborne diseases occur worldwide.
Ticks are transmitters of diseases for humans and animals. Ticks can transmit disease to many hosts some cause economic harm such as Texas fever in cattle that can kill up to 90% of yearling cows. Ticks act as vectors when microbes in their saliva and mouth secretions get into the hosts skin and blood. Ticks were understood to be vectors of disease in the mid-1800s, and as investigative methods improved , more information showed the wide variety of diseases that could be transmitted by ticks.
There are many common names for various ticks , and these names appear in the scientific literature, too. Most common names represent a genus of ticks. However, the common name red may be used by people to describe almost any tick that has had a blood meal .
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Other Canine Diseases Carried By Ticks
Anaplasmosis can involve symptoms similar to those for Lyme disease. Babesiosis can present with a wide range of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressing infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases includes blood tests similar to those used to check for Lyme disease.
Sometimes, dogs and people can become sick with co-infection of multiple tick-borne diseases, where more than one type of disease-causing bacteria is transmitted through a tick bite. This situation can make diagnosis and treatment even more challenging and difficult.
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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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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How Do I Know If I Have A Tick Bite
Many people who develop the disease do not remember seeing ticks or being bitten. Tick bites commonly occur from May to September in North America, although blacklegged ticks can be active most of the year. Ticks sometimes move around on the body but they usually attach themselves to the skin and stay in one place. Before feeding, ticks look like small, brown scabs or freckles. After feeding, ticks may swell considerably, and could be as big as a raisin or a small grape.
Follow the link for more information about blacklegged ticks from the Government of Canada.
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My Friend Had A Tick Bite And Her Doctor Prescribed A Dose Of Antibiotics To Prevent Lyme Disease When Are Prophylactic Antibiotics Recommended
Limited data is available on the benefit of using prophylactic antibiotics in children following a tick bite. The only antibiotic used for this prophylaxis is doxycycline.
Its use is only recommended if the following five criteria are met:
Ask your provider for more information if you think you or your child may need a prophylactic dose of doxycycline following a tick bite.
It is important to get outside and play, hike, and explore. The possibility of tick bites should not prevent you and your children from enjoying the outdoors. Being diligent about tick prevention and tick checks will go a long way in avoiding tick-borne illnesses.
Remember that even if a tick bite occurs, the risk of Lyme disease remains low. Please do not hesitate to call Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center at 674-7337 or the Ottauquechee Health Center at 457-3030 if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary from person to person after being bitten by a tick.
Lyme disease occurs in stages. The signs and symptoms of each stage can overlap. In some people, Lyme disease may present in a later stage without a history of prior signs or symptoms.
The most commonly reported sign of Lyme disease is an expanding skin rash that typically begins at the site of the tick bite. This rash is called erythema migrans. It slowly grows to more than 5 cm in diameter over several days, and can sometimes:
- be circular or oval-shaped
- look like a target or bull’s eye
- go unnoticed, especially if it’s on:
- a part of the body that’s difficult to see
Some people may not develop a rash.
Other early signs and symptoms include:
If left untreated, the infection could spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.
Images of erythema migrans rash
Image 1Footnote a: A rash that looks like a bull’s eye at the site of a tick bite.
Image 2Footnote a: An oval-shaped red rash.
Image 3Footnote a: A red rash that has expanded across the width of a limb.
Image 4Footnote a: A red rash and blisters on a forearm.
Image 5Footnote b: A rash on a shoulder.
Image 6Footnote c: A rash on the back of a knee.
- Footnote a
Later symptoms of Lyme disease can appear days to months after an infected tick bite, and may include:
- migratory pain that spreads in the:
Other later stage symptoms include:
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Should I Be Tested For Lyme Disease After A Tick Bite
Lyme testing relies on detecting antibodies the bodys reaction to the germ not the germ itself. It takes time for the body to make antibodies, at least a couple of weeks after you have become infected. Someone with symptoms of very early Lyme disease is likely to have a negative Lyme antibody test. On the other hand, false positive Lyme tests can happen, so someone without symptoms of Lyme disease who tests positive is unlikely to really have the disease. Testing for Lyme disease shortly after a tick bite is not helpful, says Dr. Baer and may lead to a prescription for a medication that you just dont need.
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. Its not clear exactly why this happens. Its likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.
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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.
Are Tick Bites Itchy Do They Hurt
Generally, tick bites do not hurt. You might feel a bitebut you may have no idea when it happens either. Both are possible. Early in the process of biting, ticks inject a pain mediator via their saliva, says Mather. Because its more likely that subsequent bites will elicit a reaction, the first bite can often go unnoticed, he says. However, many people do find them itchy. If you continue to itch at a certain spot on your body, Mather encourages you to take a look to see what youre scratching at, since its one common way people find ticks.
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What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is spread to humans by tick bites. The ticks that carry the spirochete are:
Black-legged deer tick
Western black-legged tick
Ticks prefer to live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. Depending on the location, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of the ticks are infected with it.
While most tick bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases. Tick-borne diseases include:
Rocky Mountain spotted fever