What Are Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be complicated by permanent damage to joints, the heart, the brain, and the nervous system. There is recent research that demonstrates an increased risk for autoimmune forms of arthritis, including
Medically Reviewed on 12/22/2021N Engl J MedPrimer on the Rheumatic DiseasesN Engl J MedAmerican Academy of Family Physicians
Can You Treat Ptlds
Thats a conundrum, Lewis says. It is frustrating for everybody, including for the doctors, to conclude that they dont have a treatment.
In his lab, Lewis is working on two approaches to treating PTLDS. At the root of both is his discovery that the microbiome of patients with PTLDS has changed.
If that is causal to the disease, or at least an important component of the disease, then theres a possibility to interfere by restoring a proper microbiome in those people, he says. So his team is working to develop a treatment to restore the microbiome balance in patients suffering from PTLDS.
But thats not all. Lewis is also developing a way to treat acute Lyme disease to prevent it from progressing into a long-term condition. The broad-spectrum antibiotics that are used to treat the disease harm the human microbiome, so if a healthy microbiome is part of our resistance mechanisms, then I think that may very well increase the probability of getting chronic Lyme, he says. So Lewiss team has created an experimental compound that can specifically target Lyme disease without killing off the beneficial microbes.
We have high hopes that this is going to be perhaps the first specific or dedicated treatment for Lyme disease, he says.
What Should I Know About Lyme Disease
- Lyme disease is rarely fatal if treated early and is curable.
- Awareness about Lyme disease is the best way to prevent this disease.
- Using repellants, inspecting ticks and avoiding ticks are some of the effective ways to prevent disease occurrence.
- While going to woody areas, wear fully covered and light-colored clothes to avoid ticks.
- Pets can easily contract this disease, so it is necessary to make them wear a tick collar.
- For more protection, spray the chemical permethrin on clothes and camping sites.
- Some people have complained about lingering symptoms, even after undergoing recommended treatment for Lyme disease, known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . The common complaints, which persist for six months or more are:
Don’t Miss: How Long Lyme Disease Last
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease can be different from person to person.
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 3 to 30 days after you have been bitten by an infected blacklegged tick. Most people experience mild flu-like symptoms soon after being bitten, while a small number may have more serious symptoms, sometimes weeks after the bite.
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include:
- Rash, sometimes shaped like a bull’s eye )
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
If left untreated, more severe symptoms may occur and can last from months to years. Severe symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches
- Facial paralysis
- Intermittent muscle, joint, tendon and bone aches
- Heart disorders , known as Lyme carditis
- Neurological disorders
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and less commonly in other joints such as the ankle, elbow and wrists.
In rare cases, Lyme disease can lead to death usually because of complications involving infection of the heart.
How Does A Person Get Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick, which also is known as the black-legged tick. Immature deer ticks can be very small, about the size of the head of a pin adult deer ticks are slightly larger. Both can be infected with and transmit Lyme disease. Deer ticks acquire the bacteria by feeding primarily on small mammals infected with the bacteria, particularly the white-footed mouse. Deer ticks infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease have been found in Illinois. Areas in the United States where deer ticks are most frequently infected with Lyme disease are the northeastern United States , northern California, and north central states, especially Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, Lyme disease has been reported in almost all states in the United States as well as in many countries throughout the world.
Image source: /content/dam/soi/en/web/idph/files/pictures/babesiosis.jpg
Also Check: What Does Lyme Disease Do To You
How Do You Acquire This Borrelia Infection
Humans and animals are infected with the bacteria through hard-tick bites. The borrelia survive in the midgut of the ticks. The immature nymphs are most likely to transmit the infection. The ticks feed on infected animals and then on humans.
Ticks occur in high grass, brush, woodland and leafy forest. The main hosts for the ticks and borrelia are small to medium-sized animals in Europe and deer in North America.
- In North America, the tick vectors are Ixodes scapularis, I. pacificus, and 4 other tick species
- In Europe and Asia, the tick vectors are I. ricinus, I. hexagonus, and I. persulcatus
How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
Read Also: Cvs Minute Clinic Lyme Disease Test
When Should I Call The Doctor
If a tick bites you, call your doctor. Other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s always a good idea to discuss them with your doctor. That way you can get checked and treated, if needed. Call right away if you get a red-ringed rash, lasting flu-like symptoms, joint pain or a swollen joint, or facial paralysis.
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.
Don’t Miss: Pcr Blood Test For Lyme Disease
How Do I Remove A Tick
You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.
If you find a tick:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your skin.
- Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. If part of the tick stays in your skin, don’t worry. It will eventually come out. But call your doctor if you notice any irritation in the area or symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Note: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won’t get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.
What Is The Treatment
Most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated with 2 to 4 weeks of antibiotics. Depending on the symptoms and when you were diagnosed, you may require a longer course or repeat treatment with antibiotics.
Some people experience symptoms that continue more than 6 months after treatment. Research continues into the causes of these persistent symptoms and possible treatment methods.
Also Check: Can Lyme Disease Cause Jaw Pain
How Do I Remove A Tick From My Dog
Check your pet immediately after it has been in a tick-infected area. The deer tick is a small tick and only about pinhead size in juvenile stage, but is a little more obvious in the adult phase and after feeding. If you find a tick moving on your pet, the tick has not fed. Remove the tick promptly and place it in rubbing alcohol or crush it between two solid surfaces. If you find a tick attached to your pet, grasp the tick with fine tweezers or your finger nails near the dog’s skin and firmly pull it straight out. There are also tools available called Tick Twister® or Tick Key® which can be useful. However, take care to use them cautiously as twisting or jerking the tick may cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. See your veterinarian if you are unsure or unable to remove the tick from your dog.
Make sure you protect your fingers from exposure by using a tissue or a disposable glove.You may need another person to help restrain your dog. Removing the tick quickly is important since the disease does not appear to be transmitted until the tick has fed for approximately 12 hours. If you crush the tick, do not get the tick’s contents, including blood, on your skin.
Note: The bacterium that causes Lyme disease can pass through a wound or cut in your skin.
Achy Stiff Or Swollen Joints
Joint pain and stiffness, often intermittent, are early Lyme symptoms. Your joints may be inflamed, warm to the touch, painful, and swollen. You may have stiffness and limited range of motion in some joints .
Pain may move around. Sometimes your knees may hurt, whereas other times its your neck or your heels. You may also have bursitis . Bursae are the thin cushions between bone and surrounding tissue.
The pain may be severe, and it may be transitory. More than one joint may be affected. Most often the large joints are involved .
People often attribute joint problems to age, genetics, or sports. Lyme should be added to that list, as these statistics indicate:
- One study estimates that 80 percent of people with untreated Lyme have muscle and joint symptoms .
- Fifty percent of people with untreated Lyme have intermittent episodes of arthritis .
- Two-thirds of people have their first episode of joint pain within six months of the infection .
- Use of anti-inflammatory drugs may mask the actual number of people with joint swelling .
Joint pain that comes and goes, or moves from joint to joint, could be a sign of Lyme.
Don’t Miss: Lyme Disease And Chronic Fatigue
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.
Has Niaid Looked At The Potential Benefits Of Long
Yes. NIAID has funded three placebo-controlled clinical trials on the efficacy of prolonged antibiotic therapy for treating PTLDS. The published results were subjected to rigorous statistical, editorial, and scientific peer review.
These trials were designed to ensure that several key parameters were addressed:
- The susceptibility of B.burgdorferi to the antibiotics used
- The ability of the antibiotics to both cross the blood-brain barrier and access the central nervous system and to persist at effective levels throughout the course of therapy
- The ability of the antibiotics to kill bacteria living both outside and inside mammalian cells
- The safety and welfare of patients enrolled in the trials
The first clinical trial, which included two multicenter studies, provided no evidence that extended antibiotic treatment is beneficial. In those studies, physicians examined long-term antibiotic therapy in patients with a well-documented history of previous Lyme disease but who reported persistent pain, fatigue, impaired cognitive function, or unexplained numbness. Those symptoms are common among people reporting PTLDS. Patients were treated with 30 days of an intravenous antibiotic followed by 60 days of an oral antibiotic.
In 2016, a clinical trial conducted in the Netherlands also concluded that in patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease, longer term treatment with antibiotics did not provide additional benefits compared with shorter term regimens.
Also Check: What Are The Lasting Effects Of Lyme Disease
How Ticks Spread Disease
The tick feeding process makes ticks very good at transmitting infection:
- Depending on the tick species and its stage of life, preparing to feed can take from 10 minutes to 2 hours. When the tick finds a feeding spot, it grasps the skin and cuts into the surface. The tick then inserts its feeding tube. Many species also secrete a cement-like substance that keeps them firmly attached during the meal. The feeding tube can have barbs which help keep the tick in place.
- Ticks also can secrete small amounts of saliva with anesthetic properties so that the animal or person can’t feel that the tick has attached itself. If the tick is in a sheltered spot, it can go unnoticed.
- A blacklegged tick will attach to its host and suck the blood slowly for several days. If the host animal has certain bloodborne infections, such as the Lyme disease agent, the tick may ingest the pathogen and become infected. If the tick later feeds on a human, that human can become infected.
- After feeding, the blacklegged tick drops off and prepares for the next life stage. At its next feeding, it can then transmit the infection to the new host. Once infected, a tick can transmit infection throughout its life.
- If you remove a tick quickly you can greatly reduce your chances of getting Lyme disease. It takes some time for the Lyme disease-causing bacteria to move from the tick to the host. The longer the tick is attached, the greater the risk of acquiring disease from it.
How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
Read Also: How Does Lyme Disease Spread
Symptoms Of Post Treatment Lyme Disease
- Include severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, & cognitive problems
- Can significantly impact patients health and quality of life
- Can be debilitating and prolonged
Our research indicates the chronic symptom burden related to PTLD is significant. Although often invisible to others, the negative impact on quality of life and daily functioning is substantial for PTLD sufferers.
The chronic symptom burden related to Lyme disease is considerable, as shown on the left side of the graph above, and statistically significantly greater than the aches and pains of daily living experienced by the control group, on the right.
Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 1 to 2 weeks after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but it isnt painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans is said to be characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people dont have this symptom.
Some people have a rash thats solid red, while people with dark complexions may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
Recommended Reading: What Do I Do If My Dog Has Lyme Disease
Is Lyme Disease Curable What Is The Prognosis Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is usually curable with antibiotics. This is so true that some authors of Lyme disease research have stated that the most common cause of lack of response of Lyme disease to antibiotic therapy is a lack of Lyme disease, to begin with! The type of antibiotic depends on the stage of the disease and what areas of the body are affected. Early illness is usually effectively treated with medications taken by mouth, for example, doxycycline , amoxicillin , or cefuroxime axetil . This antibiotic therapy generally results in a rapid cure of Lyme disease. Of note, doxycycline should not be used in pregnancy or children under 8 years of age.
Therefore, if a person finds a typical bulls-eye skin rash developing in an area of a tick bite, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Generally, antibiotic treatment resolves the rash within one or two weeks with no long-term consequences. Later illnesses such as nervous-system disease might require intravenous drugs examples are ceftriaxone and penicillin G. There are no home remedies to treat Lyme disease.
In those people with two or more episodes of erythema migrans rash, even years apart, it is felt that the episodes represent different infections or reinfection rather than persistence of the original infection.
How Do I Remove A Tick From My Child
If you find a tick attached to your child, remove it as soon as possible. Ticks can stay attached and feed for five or more days. Removing a tick within 24 to 36 hours of it starting to feed is likely to prevent Lyme disease.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the ticks mouth-part area close to the skin surface .
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure .
- Dont twist or jerk the tick this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and stay in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you cant, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- When possible, disinfect the bite area after removal .
Figure A and B – Reproduced with permission from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
You May Like: Best Lyme Disease Doctors In Massachusetts