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What To Know About Lyme Disease


What To Do If You Find A Tick

What to Know about Lyme Disease

Depending on the area, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of ticks carry Lyme disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. If you find a tick on your body, you should remove it. ILADS recommends contacting your doctor immediately if you’ve been bitten by a black-legged tick, before symptoms of Lyme disease appear .

According to Bran, Lyme infection may be prevented if the tick bite happened within 72 hours of you starting treatment.

Not all ticks carry Lyme disease.

ILADS recommends saving the tick in a container with a lid or a ziplock bag. This allows you to send it in for testing or to get confirmation by your doctor.

How long does an infected tick need to be attached to pass on Lyme disease? Expert advice varies

But the sooner you spot and remove the tick, the better.

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 To Protect Yourself

The good news is that you can take several steps to reduce your risk of being bitten by an infected tick in the first place. Heres how:

  • If you can, avoid areas with ticks, particularly during peak tick season . These include wooded and brushy areas with high grasses and leaf litter.
  • When spending time in a tick-infested area, dress carefully. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and long socks. Light colors are best because you can spot ticks more easily. To keep ticks from crawling up inside your clothes, tuck your pants into your socks and your shirt into your pants.
  • Apply an effective insect repellent to your clothes and exposed skin. You can also try clothing treated with the insecticide permethrin, but dont spray this chemical on your skin.
  • After being outdoors, take a shower to wash off any ticks that may be crawling on your skin but not yet attached. While youre there, check your body for attached ticks, especially in skin folds such as in the armpits and groin, and behind the ears. Remember that young ticks are tinyabout the size of a poppy seedso they can be difficult to spot.
  • Another useful measure: Pop your clothes in the dryer for 15 minutes on high to kill any ticks that may be hiding.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Post

Some of the symptoms are more severe versions of the symptoms of acute Lyme disease: headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, and stiffness. But there can also be facial palsy , arthritis and swelling, heart palpitations, dizziness, shooting pain or numbness, and difficulty thinking from brain and spinal cord swelling.

How Lyme Disease Spreads

Lyme Disease Symptoms Information Infographic Stock Vector ...

Lyme disease is spread primarily by bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans, household pets, and forest critters by the blacklegged tick, sometimes referred to as the deer tick, and the Western blacklegged tick. Rarely, Lyme can also be caused by recently discovered bacteria, Borrelia mayonii, also transmitted by blacklegged ticks.

The CDC and the Infectious Diseases Society of America agree that the tick has to remain attached for 24 to 48 hours in order to transmit Lyme-causing bacteria.

The disease is most common in late spring and summer, when young, poppy-seed-sized ticks are active and when people tend to spend more time outdoors.

Both the blacklegged tick and the diseases it carries are most common in the Northeast, Middle Atlantic, and North Central U.S. The states with the highest rates of confirmed cases of Lyme disease include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, plus the District of Columbia. The blacklegged tick can be found most anywhere East of the Mississippi River, while the Western blacklegged tickwhich can also spread Lymeis found in California, Oregon, and Washington, and parts of Arizona and Utah.

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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

History Of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease gets its name from a small coastal town in Connecticut called Lyme. In 1975, a woman brought to the attention of Yale researchers an unusual cluster of more than 51 cases of mostly pediatric arthritis. In 1977, Dr. Allen Steere and Yale colleagues identified and named the 51 clusters Lyme arthritis.” In 1979, the name was changed to “Lyme disease,” when Steere and colleague Dr. Steven Malawista discovered additional symptoms linked to the disease such as possible neurological problems and severe fatigue. In 1982 the cause of the disease was discovered by Dr. Willy Burgdorfer. Dr. Burgdorfer published a paper on the infectious agent of Lyme disease and earned the right to have his name placed on the Lyme disease spirochete now known as Borrelia burgdorferi.

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If You Are Infected Can You Be Treated

There is a treatment that is effective in most cases, if you identify an infection early enough. If your doctor thinks you have an active, acute Lyme disease infection, or if a blood test reveals antibodies for the disease, they will likely prescribe an antibiotic.

Most people will get better from that treatment. However, in those where its not diagnosed in time, then it can turn into more unpleasant conditions, Lewis says. It can get into the nervous system and cause neurological symptoms, or get into the joints and cause arthritic symptoms, for example. Antibiotics can also help treat those more severe cases, too.

But, when left unresolved for six months to a year, Lyme disease symptoms can become highly problematic, Lewis says. This can happen when someone has mild symptoms and doesnt realize they have Lyme disease or in about a tenth of cases even after treatment, he says. This is often called chronic Lyme disease, but the medical community usually calls it post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome .

What Happens At Your Appointment

Do you know the signs of Lyme disease?

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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Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions

If you have not done so already, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers.

The chances that you might get Lyme disease from a single tick bite depend on the type of tick, where you acquired it, and how long it was attached to you. Many types of ticks bite people in the U.S., but only blacklegged ticks transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Furthermore, only blacklegged ticks in thehighly endemic areas of the northeastern and north central U.S. are commonly infected. Finally, blacklegged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. This is why its so important to remove them promptly and to check your body daily for ticks if you live in an endemic area.

If you develop illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash, fever, body aches, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Ticks can also transmit other diseases, so its important to be alert for any illness that follows a tick bite.


Moody KD, Barthold SW, 1991. Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.Am J Trop Med Hyg 44: 135-9.

There are no reports of Lyme disease being spread to infants through breast milk. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease and are also breastfeeding, make sure that your doctor knows this so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic thats safe for use when breastfeeding.

What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease

Most of the people who get Lyme disease and receive treatment early will be fine. Treatment can cure Lyme disease but you might still have some long-term effects. Untreated Lyme disease may contribute to other serious problems but its rarely fatal.

Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome

Even after proper treatment, some people may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. The symptoms dont mean that you still have an infection. PTLDS probably wont respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms that resolve at some point over the next six months.

Chronic Lyme disease

Chronic Lyme disease is a term used by some for a condition in a person who had Lyme disease and the symptoms of PTLDS. Some people consider chronic Lyme disease to be the same as PTLDS. However, some people receive a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis without a Lyme disease diagnosis. Sometimes, extended treatment with antibiotics helps.

This term may be why some people think a Lyme disease infection can occur without being bitten by a tick. There isn’t enough proof that mosquitoes can transmit Lyme disease. Many researchers dislike using the term chronic Lyme disease.

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Treatment Following A Tick Bite

  • In some circumstances, a single dose of antibiotic given within 72 hours of a tick bite might prevent the development of Lyme disease. Several criteria must be met:
  • The tick must be identified as the blacklegged tick .
  • The tick must have been attached for at least 36 hours .
  • The tick bite occurred in a highly endemic area
  • Talk to your doctor about the single dose antibiotic treatment if you meet these criteria. You can also take a “wait-and-see” approach and watch for signs and symptoms of Lyme disease. Prompt treatment of the disease is very effective and will prevent more severe signs and symptoms.
  • Resources For Maine Residents

    Lyme disease and other tick

    Public Law, Chapter 340, LD 597, 126th Maine State Legislature: An Act to Inform Persons of the Options for the Treatment of Lyme Disease

    • Acknowledges difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease
    • Information on risks of long term antibiotic therapy

    Public Law, Chapter 235, LD 422, 127th Maine State Legislature: An Act to Improve Access to Treatments for Lyme Disease

    • Allows licensed physicians to prescribe long-term antibiotic therapy to eliminate infection or to control a patients symptoms

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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.

    Stage : Later Symptoms

    • shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
    • heart palpitations

    These symptoms may go away without treatment within a few weeks or months. However, some people develop chronic Lyme disease and have lasting symptoms.

    Around of people who do not receive treatment for the disease develop recurrent episodes of arthritis with severe swelling, especially in the large joints.

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    Do All Ticks Carry Lyme Disease

    No. Commonly known as deer ticks, the tiny blacklegged ticks are the ones that carry Lyme disease. Immature ticks, called nymphs, are about the size of a poppyseed and adults are about the size of a sesame seed. Ticks at both of those life stages can transmit the bacteria that causes the disease.

    But not all blacklegged ticks will give you Lyme disease. It depends on the area, Lewis says, but you can have up to half of the ticks carrying bacteria.

    What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease

    What Does Lyme Disease Do To Your Body?

    If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience what’s called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally don’t prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but it’s not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.

    Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.

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    Lyme Disease: What To Know About Symptoms Vaccine Status And More

    Lyme disease can be a chronic condition for many people. Here’s what we know about it.

    Lyme disease is an illness caused primarily by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria transmitted to humans through the bites of certain species of ticks , and it’s been notoriously misunderstood and underdiagnosed. But it’s a growing problem in the US — especially in New England, where research published in March found that 11% of people have antibodies against b. burgdorferi.

    Dr. James Marvel, an emergency medicine doctor at Stanford Health Care and wilderness medicine expert, has researched the contributing factors to the spread of Lyme disease in the US. In an interview with CNET last year, he said that data over the last few decades shows that Lyme disease has “blossomed” in a number of US states and counties, particularly in the Northeast.

    “There’s some suspicion that climate variables are contributing to it, especially in the context of global warming,” so the environment may be more favorable for ticks, Marvel said. However, ticks have a two-year life cycle, which makes it difficult to track.

    “It’s not as simple as saying, ‘One hot day means there’s going to be more ticks,'” Marvel explained.

    “You’re seeing a shift toward going out in order to be socially distant,” Bran said.

    Here’s what to know about Lyme disease and how to protect yourself.

    Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease

    Timing: Weeks to months after a tick bite

    In early disseminated Lyme disease, the infection has started to move beyond the site of your tick bite to other parts of your body such as your heart, brain, or spinal cord. Lyme disease that has moved to the brain is sometimes referred to as Lyme neuroborreliosis, or neurological Lyme disease.

    Common symptoms of early disseminated Lyme disease include:

    • More than one EM rash

    • Pain that may come and go and move around the body, in joints, tendons, muscles, and bones

    • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord , which can cause severe headache, neck stiffness, and sensitivity to light and sound

    • Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the arms and legs

    • Weakness or drooping on one or both sides of the face difficulty closing an eyelid

    • Inflammation of the heart that can cause heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, or fainting. If you are experiencing any of these heart symptoms, seek immediate medical care.

    You may also experience a worsening of earlier Lyme disease symptoms.

    Lyme disease can cause joint pain , a stiff neck , or weakness or drooping on one or both sides of the face, known as facial palsy .

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