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When To Treat Lyme Disease

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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented

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Most people with Lyme disease become infected during the late spring, summer, and early fall when immature ticks are out feeding. Except in warm climates, few tick bites take place during winter months.

Deer ticks are most often found in wooded areas and nearby grasslands. They are especially common where the two areas merge, including neighborhood yards where deer occasionally roam. Ticks do not survive long on sunny lawns they dry out quickly and die. Although only about 1% of all deer ticks are infected, there are areas in which over 50% of the ticks carry the bacterium. The diseased ticks are often found in the U.S. Northeast and upper Midwest areas.

The following tips can help you avoid tick bites:

What Are The Treatments For 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.

What Is The Treatment For Lyme Disease

The first-line standard of care treatment for adults with Lyme disease is doxycycline, a tetracycline antibiotic. Other antibiotics that have activity against borrelia include the penicillin-like antibiotic, amoxicillin, and the second generation cephalosporin, Ceftin. The mainstay of treatment is with oral antibiotics, but intravenous antibiotics are sometimes indicated for more difficult to treat cases of neurologic-Lyme disease, such as meningitis, and cases of late Lyme arthritis.

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Treatment For Erythema Migrans

People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help prevent late Lyme disease.

Treatment regimens listed in the following table are for the erythema migrans rash, the most common manifestation of early Lyme disease. These regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a persons age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions.

Treatment regimens for localized Lyme disease.

Age Category
100 mg, twice per day orally N/A
500 mg, three times per day orally N/A
500 mg, twice per day orally N/A
4.4 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses 100 mg per dose
50 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 3 doses 500 mg per dose
30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses 500 mg per dose

*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize unnecessary antibiotics that might result in adverse effects, including infectious diarrhea and antimicrobial resistance.

NOTE: For people intolerant of amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime, the macrolide azithromycin may be used, although it is less effective. People treated with azithromycin should be closely monitored to ensure that symptoms resolve.

Early Localized Lyme Disease

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Early localized Lyme disease usually presents as an acute illness characterized by:

  • fever
  • headache
  • the presence of a single, localized skin lesion known as erythema migrans

Not all patients will present with an EM. Therefore, diagnosis should not be based solely on the presence of EM.

Most patients will present with EMs within 7 days of the initial tick bite. However, the incubation period can vary between 3 and 30 days.

The skin lesion is characteristically an annular erythematous lesion greater than 5 cm in diameter that:

  • slowly increases in size
  • is usually painless and non-pruritic

The lesion sometimes develops central clearing, but it can be more homogenously erythematous. In dark-skinned patients, the rash may appear more as a bruise.

Variations of an EM are highly suggestive of Lyme disease and can take the following forms:

  • blistering
  • blue-purple hues
  • a bull’s-eye appearance

A skin lesion called erythema migrans can develop into a bull’s-eye at the site of a tick bite. It is shown here on a patient’s upper arm.Footnote 1

A typical sign of early non-disseminated Lyme disease is an expanding rash called erythema migrans. This can take on the appearance of a bull’s eye.Footnote 1

Some Lyme disease skin lesions are uniformly red and do not appear with the classic ring.Footnote 1

Some patients present with a central blistering lesion, commonly mistaken as a spider bite. This is likely due to an inflammatory reaction to the pathogen induced by the tick.Footnote 1

  • fatigue

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Chronic Lyme Disease Symptom Severity

In LDos chronic Lyme disease survey, over 75% of patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe and 63% reported two or more such symptoms. Find out more about LDo peer-reviewed published surveys. The chart below shows the severity of ten common chronic Lyme symptoms.

The survey also found that patients with chronic Lyme disease have high disability and unemployment rates. Over 40% of patients with chronic Lyme disease reported that they currently are unable to work because of Lyme disease and 24% report that they have received disability at some point in their illness.

The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease

Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.

Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.

Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.

Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.

Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.

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How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease

The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short trees, especially cedar trees. Here they wait until their sensors detect an approaching animal on which to crawl or drop. Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.

“Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.”

History And Physical Examination

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The clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease can be straightforward in patients with a history of tick exposure and the characteristic finding of an erythema migrans rash.12 The CDC has defined erythema migrans rash as an expanding red macule or papule that must reach at least 5 cm in size .11 According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines, erythema migrans rash is the only clinical manifestation sufficient to make the diagnosis of Lyme disease in the absence of laboratory confirmation.20 Although one study concluded that primary care physicians in a Lyme diseaseendemic area of France correctly identified erythema migrans in 72 percent of patients,22 the study was limited by lack of complete clinical information for the participants.

A number of conditions resemble erythema migrans however, the rapid and prolonged expansion of an erythematous lesion is unique to erythema migrans.11 Lesions most often occur at anatomic sites that are unusual for cellulitis and other conditions that mimic erythema migrans therefore, a complete skin examination should be performed before excluding erythema migrans.20

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How Is It Treated

Facial palsy is treated with oral antibiotics and Lyme meningitis/radiculoneuritis can either be treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics, depending on severity . Most people with Lyme disease respond well to antibiotics and fully recover. Varying degrees of permanent nervous system damage may develop in people who do not receive treatment in the early stages of illness and who develop late-stage Lyme disease.

Four Tips To Treat Lyme Disease At Home

When you think youve been bitten by a tick, its important to immediately schedule an appointment at Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine in Grapevine, TX. When left untreated, Lyme disease can cause inflammation around your heart, memory loss, nerve damage, the onset of autoimmune diseases, and other serious health problems. Thankfully, Lyme disease is treatable, especially when it is caught early. Dr. Constantine Kotsanis helps his patients treat their symptoms with different Lyme disease treatments that help to remove the infection from their bodies quickly.

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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.

What To Expect At Home

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Home care for dogs with Lyme disease is relatively straightforward. Doxycycline is usually given by mouth twice daily for at least 30 days. Improvement in the dogs symptoms should be noted within 24-48 hours. If the dogs condition fails to improve in 72 hours or worsens at any time, call your veterinarian.

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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease

Most of the people who get Lyme disease and treated early will be fine.

Post-Lyme Syndrome

Even after proper treatment, some patients may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This does not signify ongoing infection and will not respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms resolve over the next 1-6 months.

Chronic Lyme Syndrome

Chronic Lyme syndrome is a term used by some that includes the symptoms of Post-Lyme syndrome outlined above. This is a controversial topic with no accepted etiology and no proven cause or association.

Herbs For Lyme Disease Treatment

Herbs have been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years. Many people have turned to herbal remedies to help provide relief from Lyme disease when antibiotics didn’t completely help eliminate symptoms.

One research study found that a combination of doxycycline and baicalein provides additional healing benefits. According to a 2020 laboratory study, seven herbal medicines have been shown to kill B. burgdorferi in test tubes:

Garlic has antibacterial effects and may help prevent tick bites. One study determined that people who took garlic supplements reported fewer tick bites than the placebo group. Garlic essential oil has been shown to eliminate the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Garlic can interact with certain medications, so speak with your healthcare provider before using it to prevent or treat Lyme disease.

Steviaa natural sweetener and sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plantmay be effective in treating Lyme disease. A study published in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology discovered that stevia extracts are more effective in killing Lyme disease bacterium in the lab than the standard antibiotics.

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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.

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

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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 Is Post Treatment Lyme Disease

Post Treatment Lyme Disease represents a research subset of patients who remain significantly ill 6 months or more following standard antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease. PTLD is characterized by a constellation of symptoms that includes severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, depression, and cognitive problems such as difficulty with short-term memory, speed of thinking, or multi-tasking. In the absence of a direct diagnostic biomarker blood test, PTLD has been difficult to define by physicians, and its existence has been controversial. However, our clinical research shows that meticulous patient evaluation when used alongside appropriate diagnostic testing can reliably identify patients with a history of previously treated Lyme disease who display the typical symptom patterns of PTLD.

What Is Lyme Arthritis

Lyme arthritis occurs when Lyme disease bacteria enter joint tissue and cause inflammation. If left untreated, permanent damage to the joint can occur. Lyme arthritis accounts for approximately one out of every four Lyme disease cases reported to CDC. Because of reporting practices, this statistic may overstate the frequency of arthritis among patients seen in routine clinical practice.

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Considerations While On Lyme Treatment

Antibiotics can wipe out beneficial intestinal flora, leading to a wide variety of additional health problems. It is important to take probiotics while on antibiotics to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Furthermore, antibiotics may interact with other drugs, supplements or food. The National Institutes of Healths MedLinePlus website gives information about drug interactions.

How Do Naturopathic Doctors Test And Treat Lyme Disease

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Its that time again tick season, and with Lyme Disease rates increasing every year it is becoming extremely important to increase awareness about this illness. One tick bite, from the wrong tick, can lead to a host of debilitating symptoms.

The bacteria responsible for Lyme disease is amazing at concealing itself from our immune systems. It can take weeks after being infected before the immune system starts to recognize and fight it. The most commonly recognized sign of Lyme disease is a rash (also referred to as a Bulls Eye Rash. This rash begins at the site of the tick bite and is very itchy or painful. The problem is that most people dont ever notice the rash, or they dont question it because it doesnt look like a bullseye and research shows that only 50% of those infected get a rash. Other people may simply get a summer flu. If you catch these symptoms and you are tested and treated, Lyme disease will go away and you probably wont have any complications. However If not treated early, Lyme may become chronic. In these instances a myriad of non-distinct but debilitating symptoms can follow. Most people are diagnosed with something else like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, neuropathy or multiple sclerosis because there are not definitive symptoms of Chronic Lyme. It often takes years of ineffective treatments before these patients are diagnosed.

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    Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented Or Avoided

    The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by ticks. When you are outdoors, follow these guidelines:

    • Avoid areas that are wooded, brushy, or have tall grass.
    • Walk in the center of trails.
    • Use an insect repellent with at least 20% DEET. It can be put on clothing or sparingly on the skin. Dont apply it to the face or hands of children.
    • Treat clothing, tents, or other gear with repellents containing 0.5% permethrin.
    • Wear light-colored clothing. This makes it easier to see and remove ticks from your clothes.
    • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots for added protection.

    After you get home, check everything and everyone for ticks.

    • Bathe or shower as soon as you can to wash off any ticks that have not attached to you.
    • Check your entire body for ticks. Use a mirror for places you cant see. Check your children and your pets. Common tick locations include the back of the knees, groin area, underarms, ears, scalp, and the back of the neck.
    • Check any gear you used, including coats, backpacks, or tents.

    Tumble dry clothes or blankets on high heat in the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes. This should kill any ticks. If clothes are dirty, wash them in hot water and dry on high heat for 60 minutes.

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