Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What Is Lyme Disease And How Do You Get It

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How Do I Know If I Have A Tick Bite

What Does Lyme Disease Do To Your Body?

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.

Lyme Disease Blood Test Results Fully Explained

The Lyme disease blood test is used to discover if someone who has the symptoms of a Borrelia burgdorferi infection actually has the bacteria in their bloodstream. Recent infections are much easier to detect and an IgM and IgG blood test will often be ordered as complimentary information gathering tools. This blood test does not always detect the presence of the disease, so patients that have persistent symptoms after having the test may be re-tested in a few weeks.

If any of these tests come back as positive, then other samples will be used to track the stage of the disease to determine if it has reached the chronic infection stage. At this point, a medical provider will order a Western blot test to confirm the presence of Lyme disease.

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Diagnosis Testing And Treatment

You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.

Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.

It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:

  • Some people who receive antibiotics early in disease may not have a fully developed antibody response or may only develop an antibody response at levels too low to be detected by the test.
  • Antibodies against Lyme disease bacteria usually take a few weeks to develop, so tests performed before this time may be negative even if the person is infected. In this case, if the person is retested a few weeks later, they should have a positive test if they have Lyme disease. It is not until 4 to 6 weeks have passed that the test is likely to be positive. This does not mean that the test is bad, only that it needs to be used correctly.
  • If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.

    * Silver HM. Lyme disease during pregnancy. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1997 Mar 11:93-7.

    The most common co-infections that occur with Lyme disease are anaplasmosis and babesiosis. In general:


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    Other Causes Of Lyme Disease Symptoms

    Sometimes people think they have the symptoms of Lyme disease, but it is a different disease caused by ticks. Diseases caused by tick bites that are known in Australia are:

    • Queensland tick typhus
    • mammalian meat allergy

    Sometimes there is no known diagnosis for symptoms such as fatigue, disordered thinking, disturbances of the senses, joint pain and headaches. These symptoms are real and can be very debilitating. In this case, you doctor will work with you to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life.

    How Long Does A Tick Have To Be On You To Get Lyme Disease

    Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease · ExtermPRO

    In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny and difficult to see they feed during the spring and summer months.

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    What Happens During A Tick Bite

    When a tick finds a good feeding spot on your body, it grasps your skin with hooks that stick out from its mouth. It uses those hooks to cut into the surface of the skin and hold itself in place. Then it inserts a hollow, straw-like tube that sucks your blood into the ticks body over the course of several days.

    When a black-legged tick bites a human, it grasps the skin with hooks that cut into the surface of the skin to hold itself in place. Next, it inserts a hollow tube through which it sucks blood into its body over the course of several days.

    Lyme disease bacteria, or other infections, can be transmitted to the host while the tick is feeding. The pathogens move from the ticks gut to the salivary glands, and then pass through the ticks saliva into the skin.

    Ticks have several ways to stay attached and go unnoticed while they feed on your blood. For example, ticks use saliva to form a hardened seal to hold themselves in place for a few days while they feed. Ticks also release a numbing agent in their saliva so that you dont feel the bite. Tick bites do not hurt, sting, or itch Elements of tick saliva can also prevent your blood from clotting, which would provide a natural end to the meal, and they interfere with your bodys immune system and its ability to kill off the spirochete. This is why its so important to check your body for ticks when you come in from outdoors.

    If you dont find the tick before it finishes feeding, it will drop off when it is done.

    Are Parasites Making You Sick Heres Everything You Need To Know If You Have Lyme

    Chances are youve heard someone boast the benefits or even the necessity of doing a parasite cleanse. Theyve probably listed some talking points about how parasites are more common than you think, that theyre driving your mystery symptoms, or that they tend to crop up in people with chronic ailments like Lyme disease. Its enough to make anyone feel a little, well, squirmy. But how realistic is it that youre truly playing unintentional host or that getting rid of these invaders is your secret to wellness?

    According to Dr. Bill Rawls, MD, medical director of RawlsMD and Vital Plan, the logic doesnt totally stack up. While its always possible you could have a parasite depending on your living conditions, travel history, and eating and cooking habits he is doubtful that theyre wreaking too much havoc on your health if you live in the United States or another high-income country.

    Below, we cover the basics of parasites, who could be at greater risk for complications, and some basic preventative measures.

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    Possible Complications To Watch For With Lyme Disease

    Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your dogs condition.

    • Some dogs who take antibiotics can develop loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
    • Once infected, a dog will always have the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in his or her body. Therefore, relapses are possible, and owners should be on the lookout for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/or lameness.
    • A small percentage of dogs develop kidney failure as a result of Lyme disease. Clinical signs include vomiting, weight loss, poor appetite, lethargy, increased thirst and urination, and abnormal accumulations of fluid within the body.

    What Are The Treatments For Lyme Disease

    Do you know the signs of Lyme disease?

    Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better it gives you the best chance of fully recovering quickly.

    After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts more than 6 months. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Researchers don’t know why some people have PTLDS. There is no proven treatment for PTLDS long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS. If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel unwell, contact your health care provider about how to manage your symptoms. Most people do get better with time. But it can take several months before you feel all better.

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    Problems With Testing For Lyme Disease

    The problem is that Lyme disease is critically misunderstood by many people in the medical profession. Most doctors are not very well-versed in Lyme disease. Testing is not reliable. Many medical professionals are simply not educated about chronic Lyme disease to recognize and treat it. Conventional doctors often have a difficult time diagnosing, understanding, or treating something that they cannot see or isolate. Hence, Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment may be one of the most controversial and difficult issues in medicine. There are a lot of grey areas, a lot of misunderstandings, and unreliable testing, so going to a Lyme-literate practitioner is critical.

    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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    What Does Lyme Disease Do To A Person

    Lyme disease is a bacterial infection you get from the bite of an infected tick. At first, Lyme disease usually causes symptoms such as a rash, fever, headache, and fatigue. But if it is not treated early, the infection can spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system. Prompt treatment can help you recover quickly.

    When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme

    Lyme Disease

    The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.

    If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.

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    What Should You Do If You Find A Tick

    • Don’t 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. Don’t squeeze the tick, and don’t 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.

    Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.

    These symptoms are often compared to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

    It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s also no agreed treatment.

    Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.

    The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:

    • referral for a care needs assessment
    • telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
    • communicating with children and families’ social care

    Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024

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    What Is Chronic Lyme Disease’

    There is no agreed definition of the term chronic Lyme disease among doctors so it can mean different things to different people. Some people use the term chronic Lyme disease to describe a range of non-specific symptoms including chronic tiredness and unexplained neurological symptoms, even when there is no evidence of past or current Lyme disease infection.

    The non-specific symptoms overlap with those of several other conditions including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, which can be triggered by common infections such as the glandular fever virus, and more recently COVID-19.

    What Should You Do

    What Itâs Like to Live with LYME DISEASE | Bustle

    The simple answer is: If youve gone to a high-risk area and you know youve been bitten by something, see a doctor.

    It is worth going on to treatment, which is a course of specific antibiotics, says Mehta. We do run tests, and the tests are fairly reliable, but the main things are a) have you gone to a risky area? b) have you seen youve been bitten? And c) have you developed symptoms?

    The take-home message is to seek medical help if there is a bite, but be aware its only a small percentage of people who end up with problems.

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    Can A Person Contract Lyme Disease Anywhere In The United States

    The states that it is not possible to contract Lyme disease anywhere in the U.S. Most infections occur in the:

    • northeast and mid-Atlantic, which includes northeastern Virginia to Maine
    • north central states, typically in Wisconsin and Minnesota
    • West Coast, mostly in northern California

    Two tick species can carry B. burgdorferi in the U.S.: the blacklegged tick and the Western blacklegged tick .

    Some people refer to the blacklegged tick as a deer tick. They live in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central U.S. The Western blacklegged tick lives on the Pacific Coast of the U.S.

    Can I Prevent Lyme Disease

    Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can protect yourself from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure to:

    • Stay in the middle of the trail instead of going through high grass or the woods.
    • Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.
    • Use an insect repellent.
    • Consider treating your clothing and gear with permethrin to repel ticks.
    • Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
    • Shower and wash hair after being outside to remove ticks before they attach.
    • Remove any ticks you find right away.

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    Is Treatment 100% Effective

    Scientists are divided on this topic. Some studies suggest that that even long-term antibiotics may not completely clear infection dogs may get sick again at some point after antibiotic treatment is stopped. Other studies suggest that complete clearance of infection is possible with antibiotic treatment. Further research is required to answer this question.

    Contributors: Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Kristiina Ruotsalo, DVM, DVSc, Dip ACVP Margo S. Tant, BSc, DVM, DVSc

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    How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed

    Lyme disease and other tick

    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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    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:

    Simple Inexpensive And Accurate

    Were trying to develop a better test that would be simple, inexpensive and accurate, Rogovskyy said. By accurate, I mean highly sensitive and highly specific at the same time.

    The increased accuracy of Raman spectroscopy testing could improve Lyme disease diagnostic practices for both humans and animals believed to have been in contact with the disease.

    For animals, the new test would require a smaller sample that could easily be taken in the field away from a veterinary clinic or hospital, thus improving mobile veterinary practices.

    For humans, Raman spectroscopy testing could significantly decrease the amount of time needed to complete testing, increase the accuracy of the diagnosis, lower the cost of diagnosing the disease, and improve overall health outcomes by definitively diagnosing the disease earlier.

    Rogovskyy said the team is in the process of validating the test through additional studies. If validated, it could become an important tool for diagnosing Lyme disease worldwide, especially in more remote areas outside the U.S. where the disease is prevalent, by enabling testing outside of traditional medical and hospital settings.

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