Lyme disease | Symptoms, causes, Diagnosis, and treatment

Lyme disease

Overview

The causes of Lyme’s disease are four major kinds of bacteria. Borrelia Burgdorferi, as well as Borrelia mayonii, are the main causes of Lyme diseases within the United States, while Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are the main cause of Lyme disease in Europe as well as Asia. The most frequent tick-borne disease in these areas, Lyme disease is transmitted through bites of a black-legged tick infected which is commonly referred to as deer tick.

You’re more likely to contract Lyme disease If you live in or are in wooded or grassy regions where ticks with Lyme diseases thrive. It’s crucial to take common-sense precautions when you live in areas with ticks.

The signs of Lyme disease

The symptoms and signs of Lyme symptoms are diverse. It usually appears in stages, but stages may be interspersed.

Early warning signs and symptoms

A small red bump like the bumps of the bite of a mosquito usually occurs at the site that a bite from a tick tick removal, and fades away over several days. The normal course of events doesn’t mean Lyme disease.

But the signs and symptoms may manifest within a few months after being infected:

  • Rash. For a period of three to 30 days following an infected tick bite, a swollen red area could appear. It may clear in the center and form a bull’s-eye shape. The red rash (erythema migrans) is slowly growing over time and may grow up from 12 to (30 centimeters) across. It’s usually not painful or itchy but it can be warm to the touch. Erythema migration is one of the symptoms that characterize Lyme disease, however, not all people who suffer from Lyme disease are affected by the rash. It can happen to people who have this rash in several places on their bodies.
  • Other signs. The symptoms of fatigue, chills, fever as well as body aches and neck stiffness, headache, and swelling lymph nodes could be associated with the eruption.

Additional symptoms and signs

If left untreated, symptoms and signs of Lyme disease could develop in the coming weeks and months. This includes:

  • Erythema migrans. The rash could be seen in different areas that are part of you.
  • Joint pain. A lot of joint swelling and pain are more likely to affect knees, however, the pain may be transferred from one joint to the next.
  • Problems with the brain. In the weeks, months, or years after the infection, it is possible to be diagnosed with irritation of your membranes around the brain (meningitis) and temporary paralysis on one side of the facial area (Bell’s palsy) and numbness, and weakness within your legs, and impaired muscle movements.

The less Common sign and symptoms

Several weeks after infection, some people develop:

  • Heart issues, for example, irregular heartbeats
  • Eye inflammation
  • Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
  • Extreme fatigue

How should I schedule a doctor’s appointment?

If you’ve been bit by a tick and are suffering symptoms

A tiny percentage of tick bites cause Lyme disease. The longer a tick is in contact with your skin the greater the chance of developing the disease. Lyme disease is not likely when the tick has been attached for less than 48 hours.

If you suspect you’ve been bitten, and are experiencing symptoms and signs of Lyme diseases — especially those who live in a region that has Lyme disease is prevalent Contact your doctor. The treatment to treat Lyme diseases is most effective when it’s started at an early stage.

See your doctor even if symptoms disappear

See your physician regardless of whether signs or symptoms disappear. The absence of symptoms does not mean that the illness is gone. If left untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other areas of your body for months or even years following inflammation, which can cause nerve system issues and arthritis.

Ticks are also able to transmit other diseases including babesiosis, alopecia, and Colorado tick-borne fever.

The Reasons

In the United States, Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi as well as Borrelia mayonii which are carried by deer or black-legged ticks. The ticks of the young are usually less than the size of a poppy seed and can be difficult to identify.

To develop Lyme disease the infected tick needs to be bitten by you. The bacteria infect your skin via the bite and eventually work their way into the bloodstream of your body.

In the majority of cases for transmission of Lyme disease, deer ticks must remain in contact for between 36 and 48 hours. If you spot the tick attached to you that appears swelling, it could have been fed for a long time to pass on bacteria. The removal of the tick as fast as you can stops the spread of infection.

Risk factors

The place you live and the time you spend there can impact your risk of developing Lyme disease. Also, your job and the outdoor activities that you take part in. The most frequent danger factors that can lead to Lyme disease are:

  • It is a good idea to spend time in forests or in grassy areas. Within the United States, deer ticks are most prevalent in forests that are heavily wooded in The Northeast as well as the Midwest. The children who have a significant amount of time in these areas are most susceptible. Adults who have jobs that require outdoor work are more at risk.
  • Skin that is exposed. Ticks are easily attached to exposed flesh. If you’re in a place that is prone to ticks be sure to protect yourself and those around you by wearing sleeves that are long and pants. Do not allow your pet to play in tall weeds and grasses.
  • Inability to remove ticks quickly or correctly. The bacteria that are triggered by a tick bite may enter your bloodstream when the tick is in contact with your skin for 48 hours or more. If you get rid of the tick within two days, your chance of contracting Lyme disease is minimal.

Complications

Untreated Lyme disease may cause:

  • Joint inflammation that is chronic (Lyme arthritis) especially of the knee
  • Neurological symptoms, like neuropathy and facial palsy
  • Cognitive problems, like memory impairment
  • Heart rhythm irregularities

Prevention

The best method to prevent Lyme illness is to stay away from places where deer ticks are prevalent particularly in wooded, shady areas that have long grass. You can reduce the risk of developing Lyme disease by taking a few basic precautions:

  • Cover up. If you are in grassy or wooded places, wear shorts, shoes that you can tuck into socks, a shirt with long sleeves with a hat, gloves, and a hat. Make sure to stay on trails and avoid walking in low bushes or long grass. Be sure to keep your dog on a leash.
  • Use insect repellents. Apply insect repellents with 20 percent or more concentration of DEET on your skin. Parents should apply repellants to their children and keep them away from their eyes, hands, and mouth.
    Be aware that chemical repellents could be harmful, so be sure to follow the instructions cautiously. Apply the products containing permethrin to clothing or purchase clothing that has been pretreated.
  • Make sure to protect ticks in your yard. Remove leaves and brush from areas that ticks have a home. Maintain your lawn with regular mowing. The wood should be stacked carefully in sunny, dry areas to deter rodents who carry ticks.
  • Examine your clothes and yourself, as well as your children, and your animals for ticks. Be extra vigilant when you’re in grassy or wooded areas. Deer ticks are usually not larger than the pin’s head So you may not find them unless you look attentively.
    It’s a good idea to wash your face immediately after you get inside. Ticks are often left in your body for several hours before attaching to them. Showering and washing your face could help remove ticks that aren’t attached.
  • Don’t believe that you’re immune. It is possible to contract Lyme disease more than one time.
  • Get rid of a tick as quickly as you can using tweezers. Take a gentle hold of the tick close to its mouth or head. Don’t crush or squeeze the tick, instead pull it gently and slowly. After you have removed the entire tick, get rid of it by placing it in water or flushing it in the drain, apply antiseptic on the area of the bite.

Diagnosis

There are many symptoms and signs of Lyme disease that can be seen with other illnesses, and it is difficult to diagnose. Additionally, ticks transmitting Lyme disease may also transmit other illnesses.

If you’re not experiencing the typical Lyme skin rash that is common in the disease, your doctor may inquire about any medical conditions, such as the weather you’ve experienced in the summer, a time when Lyme disease is common, and also conduct a physical exam.

Laboratory tests that detect antibodies against the bacteria can aid in confirming or excluding the diagnosis. These tests are the most reliable within a few weeks of infection when your body has had the chance to create antibodies. They can be used to determine:

  • The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. The test that is most often used to determine Lyme illness, ELISA detects antibodies to B. Burgdorferi. However, because it could give false-positive results, it’s not recommended as the sole source of diagnosis.
    The test may not prove positive in the first stages of Lyme disease, however, the rash is distinct enough to establish the diagnosis, without further testing, in those who live in areas with ticks that transmit Lyme disease.
  • Western Blot test. When you find that the ELISA results are positive the test is typically used for confirmation of the diagnosis. The two-step method is the Western Blot is able to detect antibodies to various proteins of B. Burgdorferi.

Treatment of Lyme disease

Antibiotics are utilized for treating Lyme disease. In general, the recovery process will be faster and more complete the earlier treatment starts.

Antibiotics

  • Oral antibiotics. These are the usual treatment for the early stage of Lyme disease. This usually includes doxycycline, for children and adults older than 8years old, or cefuroxime or amoxicillin for children, adults, and breastfeeding women.
    A 14 to the 21-day regimen of antimicrobials is typically suggested, however, certain studies suggest that courses that last 10 to 14 days can be equally effective.
  • Intravenous antibiotics. If the illness is affecting Central Nervous System, your physician may recommend the use of an intravenous antibiotic for 14 to 28 consecutive days. This can be effective in removing infections, however, it might take a while to get rid of your symptoms.
    Intravenous antibiotics can trigger a variety of adverse effects, such as a lower white blood cells count, mild to severe diarrhea, or colonization or infection with other resistant to antibiotics organisms that are not related to Lyme.

Following treatment, a small number of people have various symptoms, including muscle pain and fatigue. The reason for these persistent symptoms, also known as post-treatment Lyme illness syndrome isn’t known and treatment with additional antibiotics does not help.

Certain experts believe that patients with Lyme disease are more likely to experience an auto-immune reaction that causes their symptoms. Further research is required.

Alternative medicine

Antibiotics are the most effective remedy to treat Lyme disease. People who experience unprovoked symptoms and signs of illness may believe that they are suffering from Lyme disease, even if they have not been confirmed.

There are many alternative therapies that patients suffering from Lyme disease or who suspect they’ve got Lyme disease can seek relief.

Unfortunately, these therapies haven’t been proven effective through scientific research or haven’t been examined. In some cases, they could be dangerous, or even fatal. If you’re considering alternatives to treatment to treat Lyme disease, speak to your doctor first.

Preparing for your appointment

It is likely that you will begin with a visit to your family doctor or a general physician who may recommend you to an infectious disease specialist, or any other specialists.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your appointment.

Lyme disease: What can you do

If you suspect that you’ve been infected by a tick, or been in an area believed to be home to ticks, be sure to inform your doctor. You should make a list of

  • Your symptoms were present, as well as when they began
  • All vitamins, medications as well as other supplements that you consume including dosages
  • Questions you can discuss with your physician.

Consider bringing an adult friend or family member with you, if possible to aid you in remembering the information you received.

If you suffer from Lyme disease, a few basic questions you can ask your doctor are:

  • What could be what is causing my symptoms?
  • In addition to the most likely source, what are the other causes that could be behind my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests will I require?
  • What is the most efficient option?
  • What alternatives do you have in addition to the one you’re suggesting?
  • I have several health issues. What can I do to handle them all?
  • Do I have any rules I need to observe?
  • Do I need to see a doctor?
  • Are any brochures or other printed materials I could get? Which websites would you recommend?

Do not be afraid to ask additional questions.

What should you be expecting from your doctor?

Your doctor may inquire about a variety of concerns, which include:

  • Are your symptoms ongoing or intermittent?
  • What is the severity of your symptoms?
  • What is it that you have tried to be helping you?
  • What do you think is likely to aggravate your symptoms?

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