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What Is Early Stage Lyme Disease

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Where Is Lyme Disease Found

Early Vs. Late Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme disease is present in all 50 states, but the illness is most commonly found in the Northeastern US. Lyme disease is prevalent in areas with a high population of ticks, especially ticks infected with the Lyme disease bacteria. More than 50% of ticks in New York State carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. The illness has been reported all over the world including Australia, China, Europe, and Japan.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Lyme Disease

The best prevention of Lyme disease is through awareness. Generally, ticks cannot jump or fly onto a person. They wait in vegetation and cling to animals and humans when they brush by. When in a potentially tick-infested habitat take special care to prevent tick bites, such as wearing light-colored clothing and tucking pants into socks and shirt into pants. Check after every 2 to 3 hours of outdoor activity for ticks on clothing or skin. Brush off any ticks on clothing or skin before skin attachment occurs. A thorough check of body surfaces for attached ticks should be done at the end of the day. If removal of attached ticks occurs within 36 hours, the risk of tick-borne infection is minimal. For proper tick removal, please watch the video at Tick removal. A vaccine for Lyme disease is not currently available.

Insect repellents can be effective at reducing bites from ticks that can spread disease. If you decide to use a repellent, use only what and how much you need for your situation. More information on repellents can be found at Environmental Protection Agency – insect-repellents.

In addition:

Domestic animals can carry ticks into areas where you live so it is important to check pets for ticks before they enter the home.

What Are The Three Stages Of Lyme Disease

When diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, your doctor will evaluate your symptoms to determine if you have the infection and identify what the stage the condition has progressed too. It can be helpful to share when the tick bite may have occurred, when you first noticed any signs, and what symptoms you are currently experiencing. Here is what you can generally expect at each stage.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Early symptoms usually appear within 3 to 30 days after the bite of an infected tick. In 60-80 percent of cases, a circular bull’s eye rash about two inches in diameter, called erythema migrans, appears and expands around or near the site of the tick bite. Sometimes, multiple rash sites appear. One or more of the following symptoms usually mark the early stage of Lyme disease: chills and fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle and/or joint pain, and swollen glands. If Lyme disease is unrecognized or untreated in the early stage, more severe symptoms may occur. As the disease progresses, severe fatigue, a stiff aching neck, and tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, or facial paralysis can occur. The most severe symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months or years after the tick bite. These can include severe headaches, painful arthritis, swelling of the joints, and heart and central nervous system problems.

The Numbers On Chronic Lyme

Lyme Disease Diagnosis &  Treatment

Because Lyme disease is commonly missed or misdiagnosed, statistics vary on how many Lyme patients go on to experience chronic symptoms. The following research nonetheless paints a basic picture of the problem.

  • An estimated 5-20% of patients may have chronic symptoms after getting Lyme disease, according to the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
  • The treatment failure rate for chronic Lyme disease patients was estimated at 26-50% in 2004, compared to 16-39% for early Lyme patients, according to
  • Up to 15-40% of late-stage Lyme patients develop neurological disorders, which are responsible for many common symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.

Experts dont know for sure why some people experience persistent symptoms, even with treatment. However, some believe the Lyme infection may trigger an auto-immune response that manifests in the chronic symptoms detailed below.

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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease

Most of the people who get Lyme disease and treated early will be fine.

Post-Lyme Syndrome

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 1-6 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.

Facts About Lyme Disease

An important fact to remember about Lyme disease is that it can vary in appearance, length of time, signs, and symptoms for each person infected. So, if you hear your friend discussing their Lyme disease symptoms and they are different than yours, dont doubt that you have Lyme and avoid getting treatment. Your symptoms may be different, less severe, or more severe.

One thing that is the same among all people with Lyme disease they acquired it by being bitten by a deer tick infected with the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi.

Another fact is that not everyone gets a red rash when bitten by a deer tick. Or, they may get a rash in a place that isnt seen too often. Rashes are common, though, for many who have contracted the disease.

Furthermore, a rash can show up anywhere between a day of being bitten up to four weeks later.

You should know that just because you see a tick on your body, even if it seems to be latched on, it is not a guarantee that you will get Lyme disease, fortunately. Some reports claim the deer tick needs to be latched on to you for 36 hours to effectively transfer the infection into your bloodstream.

For this reason, you must check your body for ticks often if you are in an environment in which they live and thrive, or have pets who enjoy the outdoors daily.

If you do happen to become infected, the first stage you will experience is called the early localized stage.

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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.

How To Avoid Contracting Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Signs and Symptoms (2 of 5) | Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Use insect repellant on your clothing and all exposed skin when walking in wooded or grassy areas where ticks thrive.
  • Treat clothing and footwear with permethrin , an insect repellant that remains active through several washings.
  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid high grass when hiking.
  • After walking or hiking, change your clothes and perform a thorough check for ticks, focusing on the groin, scalp, and armpits.
  • Check your pets for ticks.

Contact a doctor if a tick bites you. You should be observed for 30 days for signs of Lyme disease.

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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

People with Lyme disease may react to it differently, and the symptoms can vary in severity.

Although Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated symptoms can overlap. Some people will also present in a later stage of disease without having symptoms of earlier disease.

These are some of the more common symptoms of Lyme disease:

  • a flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval or bulls-eye anywhere on your body
  • other flu-like symptoms

These symptoms may occur soon after the infection, or months or years later.

Your child may have Lyme disease and not have the bulls-eye rash. According to an early study, results showed roughly 89 percent of children had a rash.

Lyme disease is best treated in the early stages. Treatment for early localized disease is a simple 10- to 14-day course of oral antibiotics to eliminate the infection.

Medications used to treat Lyme disease include:

  • doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime, which are first-line treatments in adults and children
  • cefuroxime and amoxicillin, which are used to treat women who are nursing or breastfeeding

Intravenous antibiotics are used for some forms of Lyme disease, including those with cardiac or central nervous system involvement.

After improvement and to finish the course of treatment, healthcare providers will typically switch to an oral regimen. The complete course of treatment usually takes 1428 days.

What Is Late Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is caused by an infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is disseminated through tick bites. Infected ticks usually bite small mammals, who do not develop any kind of infection from the bacteria. When humans are exposed to B. Burgdorferi from a tick bite, however, they can develop Lyme disease.

People who work outside or spend time in woodland areas, where there is greater potential for exposure to tick bites, are most at risk of infection.

Lyme disease is a condition which progresses in stages:

  • A person will initially develop early localized lyme disease, in which the bacteria have not yet spread through the body. At this stage, which generally has its onset days or weeks after the tick bite, a personâs symptoms will usually include a fever, fatigue, and a rash, called the Erythema Migrans rash, which has a distinctive bullsâ eye shape and affects around two thirds of people who develop Lyme disease. See this resource for more information on symptoms and treatment of early localized Lyme disease.
  • If Lyme disease is not diagnosed in either of these early stages, and is not treated effectively with antibiotics, the bacteria that cause LD can spread throughout the body from the site of the tick bite, resulting in late disseminated Lyme disease, or late lyme disease. The onset of symptoms and complications of late disseminated Lyme disease is usually around 6-36 months after the original infection.
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    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.

    Show Sources

    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.

    How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed

    Dangers Of Lyme Disease

    Your doctor will diagnose you based on your symptoms and whether youâve been exposed to a tick. They might also run a blood test. In the first few weeks of infection, the test may be negative because antibodies take a few weeks to show up.

    Hopefully soon, there will be tests that can diagnose Lyme disease in the first few weeks after youâre exposed. The earlier you get treated, the less likely itâll get worse.

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    The Importance Of Early Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease

    Its hard to believe that our patient-driven big data project, MyLymeData, was launched just last November. In October and November of this year, we presented our first preliminary findings from the survey at the Columbia/LDA conference in Minnesota and at the conference of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society in Philadelphia.

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms In The Three Stages Of Lyme Disease

    The stages of Lyme disease can overlap with each other, and patients may not go through all three stages. The symptoms vary depending on the duration and location of the infection.

    Early localized Lyme: This stage occurs within one to 30 days of the tick bite and is characterized by a bullseye rash at the site of a tick bite. This rash is the classic first sign of an infection.. During this stage, the infection has not spread throughout the body and is curable.

    Prominent additional signs and symptoms at this stage are:

    • Expanding rashes which appear as bulls eye, with or without an itching or burning sensation

    Late disseminated Lyme: If Lyme disease is not treated effectively or left untreated in the first two stages, then it may progress to a chronic stage known as the late disseminated stage. This stage may occur months to years after a tick bite. Bacteria have spread throughout the body and patients develop chronic arthritis of one or a few joints and/or heart or nervous system symptoms. Some of the prominent signs and symptoms include:

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    Early Disseminated Stage Of Lyme Disease

    In this second stage of Lyme disease, disseminating begins and can last up to four months or longer. Dissemination means the disease starts to spread. When the infection spreads, that means more body parts can be affected by Lyme.

    In the early dissemination phase, you can feel all of the first stage symptoms like aches and pains in the joints and muscles, fatigue that feels overwhelming, and the appearance of more rashes anywhere on your body.

    You may also notice tingling or numbness in your arms or legs. You may feel so weak that it is hard for you to function physically. Some stage-specific characteristics include numbness on one side of your face, like Bells Palsy. Or, rashes in your eye like Pink Eye or styes.

    Other symptoms include fainting, heart palpitations, Meningitis-like headaches or swelling in the brain, encephalopathy or mental confusion, and skin patches that become discolored.

    Lyme disease can progress to a third stage called late disseminated Lyme disease if not correctly diagnosed or started on antibiotics during the first or second stages.

    Late Disseminated Lyme Disease Symptoms: Stage 3

    Lyme Disease: Prevention, Symptoms, Stages and Early Treatment

    Late Disseminated Lyme disease symptoms are considered to be Stage 3 symptoms, and often occur when the infected individual does not receive early treatment for Lyme disease symptoms.

    Stage 3 symptoms may occur months and possibly years after the initial infection was contracted.

    The many possible symptoms of Lyme disease may not all occur in the same time period and are easily ignored or diagnosed as a different illness. Throughout this time of potential mis-diagnosis, the bacteria can spread throughout the entire body.

    Recurrent large-joint arthritis is the hallmark of Late Disseminated Lyme disease .

    The symptoms of late disseminated Lyme disease can include all the symptoms from the early stages of Lyme disease as discussed above, in addition to:

    • Arthritis of the large joints
    • Encephalitis
    • Temporary amnesia, and numbness or tingling in limbs and
    • Abnormal skin sensations such as burning.

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    When To See A Doctor

    A person should see a doctor if they have recently received a tick bite. It is not possible to know whether a tick is carrying Lyme disease, and the symptoms may take weeks to appear.

    The earlier a person receives a diagnosis and treatment, the higher the likelihood of a quick and complete recovery.

    It is not always possible for a person to tell if a tick has bitten them. As such, people should also see a doctor if they experience any Lyme disease symptoms. A doctor will ask about the persons symptoms and duration and whether the person has spent time in tick-infested areas.

    What Should I Do If I Am Bitten By A Tick

    If you experience a tick bite, the best way to remove it is by taking the following steps:

    • Tug gently but firmly with blunt tweezers near the “head” of the tick at the level of your skin until it releases its hold on the skin.
    • Avoid crushing the tick’s body or handling the tick with bare fingers as you could exposure yourself to the bacteria in the tick.
    • Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water.
    • DO NOT use kerosene, petroleum jelly , or hot cigarette butts to remove the tick.
    • DO NOT squeeze the tick’s body with your fingers or tweezers.

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    What Is Normal Range For Lyme Disease

    Reference Range Normal levels vary depending on the laboratory assay performed, as follows. Borrelia burgdorferi antibody enzyme immunoassay : < 0.9 = negative. 0.91-1.09 = equivocal. Normal levels vary depending on the laboratory assay performed, as follows. Borrelia burgdorferiBorrelia burgdorferiThe Ixodes tick progresses through four stages of development: egg, larva, nymph, and adult . Only larvae, nymphs, and adult female ticks require blood meals, and only ticks in the nymphal and adult stages can transmit B burgdorferi. answers what-is-the-infectious-What is the infectious cycle of Borrelia burgdorferi? – Medscape antibody enzyme immunoassay : < 0.9 = negative. 0.91-1.09 = equivocal.20 Nov 2019

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