Be Prepared For Your Doctor Visit
You can improve your chances of having an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment by providing your doctor with as much information as you can from the very start. The following checklist can be a good reminder of what to bring and discuss with your physician at your first visit:
- Have the tick tested and/or identified:If you were able to remove or find the tick that bit you, seal it in a glass or plastic container and consider sending it to IGeneX for testing. Additionally, photograph the tick and/or have the species identified ahead of time if possible. Knowing what kind of tick bit you and, in particular, whether it has tested positive for a tick-borne disease can be extremely helpful for your doctors diagnostic process. If the tick is still being tested when you see your doctor, you still may be able to start treatment based on the severity of your symptoms.
- Note possible exposure: Write down the places and dates that you believe you were exposed to ticksand the possible date and time of day when the engorged tick attached and fell off or was removed.
- Track your symptoms: Keep a running log of all symptoms youve noticed since the tick bite, even if youre no longer experiencing them. Be sure to include the days/times when symptoms appeared . For additional help, you can use IGeneXs Symptom Checker.
- Take pictures: Take pictures of any rashes or blisters that you may have noticed at the site of the tick bite or elsewhere on your body.
When You May Need To See A Specialist
Though a family physician or general practitioner should be able to order the diagnostic tests for Lyme disease, there are some situations in which you may need to see a specialist. For example, untreated or misdiagnosed Lyme can develop into chronic Lyme disease, which can then lead to complications such as arthritic or neurological symptoms. In these cases, patients may need to see the following types of specialists:
- Rheumatologist Chronic joint problems from Lyme disease may need the care of a physician who specializes in rheumatology.
- Neurologist Chronic Lyme can be associated with debilitating neurological symptoms that must be treated by a specialist.
- Infectious disease specialist Again, even though this isnt always necessary, it can be helpful if your symptoms dont go away or become more complex.
- Cardiologist In the event that you develop the rare but dangerous complication known as Lyme carditis, you may need to see a cardiologist and even be fitted with a temporary pacemaker.
However, its important to remember that seeing a specialist for symptoms related to Lyme disease without treating Lyme disease is costly and dangerous. In other words, a rheumatologist or neurologist will not be able to treat your Lyme if no diagnosis has been made. They can simply help treat symptoms that result from chronic or untreated Lyme.
To treat Lyme disease, you must get an accurate diagnosis and be prescribed antibiotics.
Benefits Of Telemedicine For Lyme Disease
The study, entitled The Impact of Telemedicine in the Diagnosis of Erythema Migrans during the COVID Pandemic: A Comparison with In-Person Diagnosis in the Pre-COVID Era, compares clinical data of 439 patients with an erythema migrans rash before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.¹ Participants in the study were being treated at an Italian Dermatology Clinic. Most individuals with an EM rash were diagnosed using an in-person
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When Should I See A Doctor For Back Pain
When your back first starts to hurt, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and applying ice in the first 48 hours. You may apply heat after 48 hours. You may need to take it easy for a while, but its best to stay as active as tolerated, and to avoid absolute bed rest, said Dr. Guo.
If your back pain lasts more than two weeks and keeps you from participating in normal, daily activities, see your family doctor. If your pain is severe, you should see a doctor sooner. You should seek urgent medical care if you have:
- Fever associated with back pain
- Back pain after trauma
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of strength in your arms and legs
- Unexplained weight loss associated with back pain
Also, always be more cautious if you have special risk factors for cancer, infection, or fractures that may affect the spine.
How Is Neuropathic Pain Treated
The goals of treatment are to:
- Treat the underlying disease .
Multimodal therapy is usually required to treat neuropathic pain.
Medicines commonly prescribed for neuropathic pain include anti-seizure drugs such as:
Doctors also prescribe antidepressants such as
- Amitriptyline .
Getting a prescription from your pain specialist for anti-seizure drugs or antidepressants does not mean you have seizures or are depressed. However, its true that chronic pain can be made worse by anxiety or depression.
Topical treatments like lidocaine or capsaicinpatches, creams or ointmentscan be used on the painful area. Opioid analgesics are less effective in treating neuropathic pain, and negative effects may prevent their long-term use.
The pain can also be treated with nerve blocks given by pain specialists, including injections of steroids, local anesthetics, or other medicines into the affected nerves.
Neuropathic pain that has not responded to the therapies mentioned above can be treated with spinal cord stimulation, peripheral nerve stimulation and brain stimulation.
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Infection With Lyme Bacteria Can Lead To Long
Its usually called chronic Lyme disease. But not everyone believes its real.
If you think your symptoms might be the result of a Lyme infection past or present Forum Health believes you. Our functional and integrative doctors will listen to you and start treatment based on clinical judgment even if tests are negative. Then well keep exploring.
We can treat chronic Lyme disease. Through a combination of antibiotics, IV therapies, and lifestyle changes, well work to address the root causes and get you well.
Lyme Has Two Growth States
Research published in 2015 shows that Lyme has two different growth states. There is a growing phase of the germs and there is a persister phase. Think of the persisters as germs that are in hibernation. These persisters hibernating phase germs ignore regular standard antibiotics we traditionally use to treat Lyme.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Because various bacterial organisms can cause tick-borne illnesses, they can affect multiple body systems and have symptoms that vary widely between infected individuals. This makes Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses challenging to diagnose, especially among children. As such, a large number of cases of tick-borne illness are misdiagnosed. For an accurate diagnosis of your frustrating symptoms, its crucial to consult a tick-borne illness expert like Dr. Kenneth Bock, who has decades of experience diagnosing the root cause of chronic illnesses and restoring balance to his patients immune systems
What Are Risk Factors For Developing Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs most frequently in children 5-14 years of age and adults 40-50 years of age. The most substantial risk factor for Lyme disease is
- exposure to the ticks located in the high-risk areas of the country listed above,
- particularly in the New England states,
- as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Additional risk factors include recreational and occupational exposure to ticks and outdoor activities, including
- gardening, in woods, and
- fields in the high-risk areas.
No transplacental transmission of Lyme disease from the mother to the unborn child has ever been described. Again, Lyme disease is not contagious from one person to another.
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The Importance Of Supporting The Immune System
Treating chronic Lyme involves extensive immune system support. When the immune system is under stress it produces an overload of molecules called cytokines. In high numbers, cytokines can cause more harm than good by overstimulating the immune system. A functional doctor can help patients combat this by reducing cytokine activity.
Some people experience overstimulation of the immune system or candida overgrowth due to the antibiotics. Telemedicine for Lyme disease is highly advantageous in these situations because you can notify your doctor immediately, making necessary adjustments without waiting for an office visit.
Lyme patients have unique experiences in the recovery process because Lyme disease can come with a variety of coinfections. They need customized treatment and frequent access to their doctor. This is most feasible with a telehealth Lyme expert.
The Earlier In The Course Of Tick Borne Disease That The Treatment Is Started The Better For The Patient And The Worse For The Microbes
Early detection, however, can be difficult. Lyme IS the most prevalent tick borne disease in the states and it is increasing in incidence year to year. Yet the Center for Disease Control estimates only 10% of the cases of Lyme disease are reported annually. This is because only 50% to 68% of patients have a clear bulls-eye rash. Only 26% ever see the tick that gives them Lyme disease. Most people do not know that a flu in the late spring, summer or early fall can be a sign of Lyme disease. Most doctors do not know that Lyme exists anywhere but the northeast part of the United States. So early treatment is a challenge. I try during tick season in Northern California to have short appointments to check out a tick bite or erythema migrans rash, in order to effect early treatment.
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What Kinds Of Neurological Problems Are Caused By Lyme Disease
Typically, three main neurological complications develop in people with untreated Lyme disease.
- Cranial neuropathy: If the infection affects nerves of the face, some patients might experience cranial neuropathyor dysfunction of the peripheral nervescausing drooping or swelling. The most common form of cranial neuropathy is Bells palsy, which is muscle drooping on one side of the face.
- Meningitis: If the bacterial infection reaches the meninges, or the tissue lining the brain and spinal column, it may cause inflammation and tissue damage. Patients with meningitis are likely to experience fevers, headache, fatigue, and stiff neck.
- Radiculoneuritis: If the bacterial infection reaches the nerve root, or the part of the nerve cells that attaches to the central nervous system , it can cause severe pain, numbness, and other abnormal sensations.
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How To Protect Kids From Tick Bites
Here, our top tips to help prevent tick bites on kids:
Dress your child in light-colored clothing so its easier to spot ticks they should also wear pants and long-sleeved shirts, a hat and closed-toe shoes when playing in an area where ticks may be present
Use insect repellent, such as DEET or permethrin
If you find a deer tick on your child thats been on for more than 36 hours and its been removed for less than 72 hours, call your pediatrician to discuss giving your child a one-time dose of an antibiotic called doxycycline, which is now recommended for kids of all ages to reduce the risk of getting Lyme disease after a tick bite.
Meet Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH, official spokespeople for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the co-authors of The Pediatricians Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers. They write about the latest AAP guidelines, studies and seasonal issues affecting babies and toddlers. Follow them on Instagram @pediatriciansguide.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
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Lyme Disease And Tick
Lyme disease patients have difficulty finding doctors with experience treating Lyme disease. For the past 25 years, LymeDisease.org has been connecting patients with Lyme-literate practitioners who specialize in caring for patients with Lyme disease.
We are happy to connect you with your nearest Lyme literate practitioners contact information. Please note, however, we are not privy to the status on each individual offices payment/insurance practices or if they are accepting new patients, with that said, we do encourage you to use the information available to contact the offices directly.
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Illinois Clinicians Demonstrate Gaps In Understanding Of Tick
Carson and colleagues surveyed clinicians between August 2020 and February 2022 and reported their findings in the article Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Illinois medical professionals related to ticks and tick-borne disease. ¹ The respondents included RNs , physicians , and APNs/PAs . The authors found that clinicians were best at identifying Lyme disease. Out of 346 respondents, 80% correctly identified Lyme disease as endemic to Illinois, while 95% were
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How Can People Prevent Lyme Disease
There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease however, there are three approaches to preventing Lyme disease.
- Try to stay out of woodlands and brush areas where the tick thrives, especially during the peak season of summer and early fall.
- Wear garments that will create barriers to the tick attaching to the skin and biting.
- Tuck pant legs into socks so ticks cannot easily crawl the short distance from the ground to just above the sock line. Wear light-colored clothing to better identify ticks.
- The application of the insecticide DEET to clothing and skin has been found to decrease tick bites and the chance for Lyme disease infections.
- Deer ticks need to remain attached to the skin for about 24-48 hours to transmit the Borrelia bacteria to the skin. Inspect all areas of the body after outdoor activity.
- If you notice a bite, it is very important to watch for symptoms, which usually show up in about three weeks.
- Ticks attach to areas that are warm and moist, such as
- the underside of a womans breasts, and
- the neck and hairline.
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New Tool Emerging In Fight Against Lyme Disease
As black-legged ticks crawl their way across Michigan, scientists hope a new vaccine in development could make their presence less menacing.
The vaccine would rob the ticks of a trait that makes them exceptional vectors for Lyme disease: the ability to bite and suck blood without notice, latching on long enough to pass bacteria to their host human.
Have you ever heard of anybody swatting at a tick bite? said Dr. Erol Fikrig, an infectious disease researcher and professor at the Yale School of Medicine who is working on the vaccine development. No. A tick is silent. It feeds on you for a long period of time.
Fikrig hopes the vaccine will cause a person to develop a physical reaction to bites from a black-legged tick, also known as a deer tick, the species that carries Lyme disease bacteria.
In a vaccinated person, the skin around a black-legged tick bite would become itchy, visible and inflamed, similar to what happens around a mosquito bite. The reaction would give someone a chance to remove a tick before it has time to transmit Lyme.
There are very few people who are going to look at a tick bite, find a tick on them and let it remain, Fikrig said. Theyll pull it off quite quickly.
A vaccine that targets tick bites has a benefit over a vaccine that targets Lyme disease, since black-legged ticks can carry more bacterium than the one that causes Lyme disease, said Jean Tsao, a Michigan State University associate professor and tick expert.
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Searching For A Provider
Project Lyme educates about the many different types of medical professionals available with the understanding that to help you heal from tick-borne disease. Given what is known about treating chronic cases, you will likely need a combination of therapies. Focusing on knowing your body, and advocating for the best care will lead you on a path to health and happiness.
For more help finding a doctor, click the link below.
What Are Lyme Disease Causes And Risk Factors
B. burgdorferi bacteria cause Lyme disease. The bacteria have a complex life cycle, spending part of their life in the deer tick and part in some mammals such as mice and deer.
Humans are not a part of the bacteriums life cycle but can become infected when bitten by the tick. Lyme disease is not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person.
While dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there are no reported cases of these animals spreading the disease to their owners. However, dogs and cats can bring the infected ticks into the home, which is one reason why tick protection for pets is important. Talk to a veterinarian about the right type of tick control for any pets.
Risk factors for getting Lyme disease include the following:
- Living in the northeastern or Midwestern U.S. states where the disease is most prevalent
- Being outdoors in the woods or areas that have tall grass, shrubs, or brush
- Fishing, camping, hunting, yard work, hiking, and other outdoor activities in tick-infested areas
- Having bare, unprotected skin when outdoors in high-risk areas
- Pets who are not protected against ticks may bring them indoors.
- Not removing attached ticks promptly
- Swollen lymph nodes
- General feeling of being unwell
The initial infection can occur with minimal or no signs or symptoms. But many people experience a flu-like primary illness or a characteristic rash several days to a few weeks following a tick bite. This rash may feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful.
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