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:
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.
Creating The Perfect Environment For Healing
More than anything else, chronic Lyme disease is a breakdown of the bodys ability to fight off everyday threats and heal itself. It isnt as much the microbes themselves as it is that the microbes are no longer constrained by a strong immune system.
I had likely harbored Borrelia and other stealth microbes long before I got sick everyone harbors some stealth microbes in the grand mix of their microbiome. For me, years of rigorous night call, eating on the run, and other bad health habits weakened my immune system enough to allow the microbes to flourish.
Creating a healing environment within my body was essential for my recovery. Though herbs were essential for my recovery, I recognized that I also had to curb the habits that contributed to my immune dysfunction in the first place.
Even before starting herbal therapy, I had given up night call by necessity. Adequate restorative sleep is essential for overcoming any chronic illness. My sleep was so disrupted, however, that it took a lot of effort for me to restore normal sleep.
Poor eating habits and antibiotics had made a mess out of my intestinal tract. I also knew that I needed to make some drastic changes to my diet. Admittedly, it was a challenge at firstI grew up in the middle of the fast-food generation. But with time, eating healthy became the new norm. With a cleaner diet, all the digestive issues cleared, including leaky gut.
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Scientists Find Promising New Treatment For Lyme Disease
A new study gives hope that an effective treatment for Lyme disease may be available in the future. The new treatment involves the drugs cefotaxime and azlocillin.
The new paper appears in the Nature journal Scientific Reports .
Bacteria belonging to the group Borrelia burgdorferi cause Lyme disease. Most people develop it after being bitten by a tick that carries the bacteria.
Approximately 6080% of people with Lyme disease develop a circular red skin rash called erythema migrans around the infected tick bite, and some also develop flu-like symptoms.
Most people develop the rash within 4 weeks of being bitten, but it can appear up to 3 months afterward.
of people with the disease later develop symptoms of fatigue, pain in their muscles, joints or nerves, and cognitive impairment.
These symptoms can continue for months or even years after their initial infection.
Researchers have suggested that this may because of drug-tolerant persisters, a group of bacterial cells that survive the initial dose of antibiotics.
Others believe its an immune disorder caused by bacteria during the first exposure, which causes a perpetual inflammation condition. Whatever the cause, the pain for patients is still very real.
For Depression And Anxiety
Both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy have proven benefits for improving mood. Psychotherapy has many different types such as supportive, dynamic, cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavior therapy, transference focused psychotherapy each of which offers benefit. Pharmacotherapy also has many different types. For depression the first-line options usually are SSRIs, SNRIs, Tricyclics or other agents with more unique modes of action.
A few noteworthy tips on anti-depressant agents:
- Most anti-depressant agents also help in reducing anxiety. However the opposite isn’t necessarily true. Specific anti-anxiety agents such as clonazepam or diazepam may not necessarily help fight depression.
- Most anti-depressants take three to eight weeks before an effect is seen. Therefore, it is unwise to stop an anti-depressant after only three or four weeks, as staying on it another two to three weeks may lead to a good response.
- Dosage makes a difference. Some anti-depressants work fine at low doses some medications however are effective only at higher doses. Some medications are more effective as the dose is i increased. Other antidepressants may have a therapeutic range one has to achieve at least a certain dosage .
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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.
Why Antibiotics Have Limited Use For Chronic Lyme
Borrelia clears the blood quickly and uses its corkscrew shape to penetrate deeply into tissues where it is protected from antibiotics and the immune system. It can penetrate into cells, give up the corkscrew shape, and live inside of cells, thus gaining protection from the immune system and antibiotics. If confronted with a full antibiotic assault, it rolls up into dormant cyst and rides out the storm until the antibiotics are gone.
Antibiotics work best on highly threatening microbes that grow very rapidly and congregate densely in localized areas in the body . Borrelia grows very slowly in the body and only occurs in very low concentrations in tissues.
Borrelia is a master at blending in with the trillions of other microbes that make up the human microbiome . Overwhelming the host is not its mission it simply needs to scavenge enough resources to survive. Borrelias stealthy ability to lay low makes diagnosis and treatment a real challenge.
Borrelia never occurs alone. There are many stealthy microbes Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Bartonella, Epstein-Barr virus , cytomegalovirus , and others that can occupy space in the microbiome. Sometimes they occur as coinfections with the tick bite, but they can already be present in the microbiome, without causing symptoms, when infection with Borrelia occurs.
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What Causes Lyme Disease In Humans
A bacterium called a “spirochete” causes Lyme disease, a tick-borne disease. In the United States, the actual name of the bacteria is Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii. In Europe, the bacteria Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii also cause Lyme disease. Certain ticks frequently found on deer, particularly white-tailed deer, from various locations harbor the bacterium in their stomachs. Dr. Burgdorfer originally discovered the spiral-shaped bacterium in the gut of the ticks in the United States, hence the naming Borrelia burgdorferi.
Lyme borreliosis is spread by these infected ticks when they bite the skin, which permits the transmission of the Borrelia spirochete through the skin to infect the body. So Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease. Lyme disease is not contagious from an affected person to someone else. Lyme disease can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system. Borreliosis, a tick-borne disease, is an infectious disease that is reportable to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
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.
Domestic animals can carry ticks into areas where you live so it is important to check pets for ticks before they enter the home.
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Early Lyme Disease Treatment
ILADS doctors are likely to recommend more aggressive and longer antibiotic treatment for patients. They may, for instance, treat high risk tick bites where the tick came from an endemic area, was attached a long time, and was removed improperly. They may treat a Lyme rash for a longer period of time than the IDSA recommends, to ensure that the disease does not progress. They are unlikely to withhold treatment pending laboratory test results.
What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
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Late Or Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment
Experts agree that the earlier you are treated the better, since early treatment is often successful. Unfortunately, a substantial portion of patients treated with short-term antibiotics continue to have significant symptoms. The quality of life of patients with chronic Lyme disease is similar to that of patients with congestive heart failure. Doctors dont agree about the cause of these ongoing symptoms. The primary cause of this debate is flawed diagnostic testing. There is currently no test that can determine whether a patient has active infection or whether the infection has been eradicated by treatment.
The IDSA thinks Lyme disease symptoms after treatment represent a possibly autoimmune, post-Lyme syndrome that is not responsive to antibiotics. The IDSA essentially regards Lyme disease as an acute infection like strep throat that can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. The IDSA guidelines are now eight years old and do not reflect recent science.
ILADS physicians believe that ongoing symptoms probably reflect active infection, which should be treated until the symptoms have resolved. These physicians use treatment approaches employed for persistent infections like tuberculosis, including a combination of drugs and longer treatment durations. The ILADS guidelines have just recently been updated using a rigorous review of the medical literature.
What Are Alternative Treatments For Lyme Disease
Alternative treatments for Lyme disease include a variety of medicines. Some of the more common types used are Homeopathy and herbal medicines. The main goal of these treatments is to stop the spread of the bacteria from other parts of the body to the brain, heart, and other organs.
Lyme disease can be an incredibly debilitating disease if its not treated early on. In many cases, people do not get treatment at all and end up suffering from chronic problems throughout their lives.
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My Experience With Antibiotic Treatment For Lyme
When I was first diagnosed with Lyme disease, my first response was standard: Try antibiotics. But every time I started a new round, I was absolutely miserable by the second week.
Nausea, abdominal discomfort, and feeling generally terrible all over increased until I was forced to stop the drug. Probiotics didnt help, and I had the same response to different types of antibiotics. While some people tolerate antibiotic therapy better than others, it became obvious that I would have to find a different solution.
I later discovered that my experience was not unique many people seem to have the same response to oral antibiotics. I also met numerous people who had undergone 6-9 months of intravenous antibiotic therapy, only to be right back where they started within a couple of months of finishing.
Though there may be some logic in using antibiotics for 2-4 weeks during acute infection, many people develop symptoms despite initial use of antibiotics. And as I came to know the microbe better, I began to understand why antibiotics are not necessarily a good treatment for chronic Lyme disease. Though some people do overcome Lyme disease with antibiotics, those results arent consistent enough to be considered reliable. To date, no clinical studies have shown benefit from long-term antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme disease.
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. You get it when the blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, bites you and stays attached for 36 to 48 hours. If you remove the tick within 48 hours, you probably wonât get infected.
When you do get infected, the bacteria travel through your bloodstream and affect various tissues in your body. If you donât treat Lyme disease early on, it can turn into an inflammatory condition that affects multiple systems, starting with your skin, joints, and nervous system and moving to organs later on.
The chances you might get Lyme disease from a tick bite depend on the kind of tick, where you were when it bit you, and how long the tick was attached to you. Youâre most likely to get Lyme disease if you live in the Northeastern United States. The upper Midwest is also a hot spot. But the disease now affects people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
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Treatment For Chronic Lyme Disease
Sometimes, people go through treatment for Lyme disease but their symptoms donât go away. If this lasts over 6 months, itâs known as chronic Lyme disease or âpost-treatment Lyme disease syndromeâ .
Doctors still arenât sure why some people get PTLDS. Some believe that getting Lyme disease may cause damage to your tissues or immune system. Others believe itâs because the bacteria that causes Lyme hasnât completely gone away.
There is little evidence that taking more antibiotics at this stage will help. They may actually be harmful. Instead, your doctor will focus on treating the symptoms youâre still having. This will be different for everyone. Some people could benefit from a medicine that relieves fatigue, while others may need a drug that can help with headaches or very sensitive skin.
More research is needed to figure out how best to treat PTLDS. Itâs something that can be frustrating. Just remember: Many people who have this condition do start feeling like their old selves after a few months.