Treat Lyme Disease

Edited by Jerry Rivers, Anonymous, Eng, Doug Collins and 3 others

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Do you enjoy the outdoors? Do you take hikes in the mountains frequently? Are you experiencing headaches coupled with fatigue and fever? Are there rashes on your skin? Did you, or did someone else, notice that you can't move your facial muscles? These may be symptoms of Lyme disease. This disease is not contagious; however the symptoms may worsen if the tick is not removed.

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People who like hunting deer and spending a lot of time in the woods and mountains are prone to contracting Lyme disease. The disease is caused by an infected tick. This tick feeds on human, as well as animal, bloods. Humans may contract them through contact with an animal carrying the parasite.

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What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the organism Borrelia burgdorferi. The most common carrier of these bacteria is the black-legged tick, also known as deer ticks. Though these organisms usually infect and attach themselves to deer, they also attach themselves to the white-footed mice. These are commonly found in north-central, mid-Atlantic and northeastern parts of the United States and in the Pacific Coast. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is the most common arthropod-borne illness in the United States.

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How do you get infected with Lyme Disease?

A person gets infected with Lyme disease when the tick attaches itself onto your skin. The mature ticks can be easily pried off because they are the size of apple seeds. It is the nymphal deer ticks are the ones that you most likely won't notice because they can be compared to the size of poppy seeds. It takes about 36-48 hours before the tick infects you with the bacteria. However, if you're in Europe, take note that the genre of the ticks in Europe woodlands can infect the human body within 24 hours after the bite.

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People who live in the countryside are also prone to this disease. Children who run around wild bushes, attend camping trips, or go hunting with adults may get them because animals who carry these ticks also roam the outdoors. As mentioned above, ticks prefer the white-footed mouse as host. As such, it is not impossible to see these ticks on an old stone wall and edges of woodlands. The larvae and nymphs thrive in moist ground litter and shady areas. The adult form of ticks can also be found in your lawn and gardens.

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What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Early Stage Symptoms of Lyme Disease

These symptoms appear from three to 30 days after the tick bite:

  • Erythema Migrans or Bull's Eye Rashes. You will notice the rash at the site of the tick bite. The rash usually appears within seven days after the tick bite. The rash, which is usually warm to touch, then spreads out to other areas of the body, reaching about 30 centimeters or 300 millimeter in size. The rash assumes a characteristic bull's eye appearance as it clears out. This rash is rarely painful nor itchy in character.
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Erythema Migrans.jpg

  • Bell's Palsy or facial paralysis. The bacteria continues to spread through the nervous system, causing this type of paralysis.

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  • Stiffness of the neck and headache. As the infection involves the nervous system, symptoms involving the spinal cord and its parts swell, thus causing the experience of these symptoms.

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  • Neuropathy. As the bacteria further invade the body, peripheral nerves start to exhibit symptoms like tingling and numbness of the hands and feet.
  • Joint pain and swelling. You may mistake this as arthritic pain. The joint pain and swelling is the body's reaction to the infection. Since the bacteria are affecting the body systemically and peripherally, the bacteria cells' waste products circulate in the blood, causing these symptoms in the bones.

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  • Enlarged lymph nodes. When a lymph node or several of them enlarges, this means that the infection is spreading systemically. The lymphocytes are in the lymph nodes, which in this case, helps combat the infection. When it enlarges, it means that the body is working overtime to control the infection by producing and re-circulating the white blood cells or soldier cells, including the immature white blood cells called lymphocytes.

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  • Fever of 100-102 degree Fahrenheit or 37.7-38.8 degree Celsius. The increase in temperature has been always a sure sign that an infection is present in the body. Any bacteria or virus that infects the body releases chemicals called pyrogens as a result of their cellular degradation. When these pyrogens reach your brain and binds with the receptors there, it causes the increase in temperature.

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  • Irregular Pulse and Severe Fatigue.Extreme fatigue is the result when the body tries to combat a fast spreading infection. When this infection reaches the heart, it alters the impulses of the heart, further interfering with its pump. Physicians usually call this heart block. As such, you may experience heart palpitations and abnormal pulse.

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Late Stage Symptoms of Lyme Disease

As the disease progresses, the symptoms worsen. You will experience worsening of the joint pain and swelling, headaches and stiffness of the neck, as well as increasing occurrence of numbness and tingling of the extremities. You may also experience neurological disturbances, like inability to finish your sentences or follow the flow of conversations, confusion, disorientation, difficulty in focusing or concentrating, dizziness and short-term memory loss.

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How is Lyme Disease Treated?

Once you see the distinguishing rash, it is vital that you seek medical attention. The characteristic bull's eye rash is one of the determining signs of Lyme disease. If the rash is not present, but you have actually seen or have taken out a tick from your skin, it is advisable to see the doctor immediately.

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Lyme disease can be treated according to its severity. Most physicians will prescribe a set of antibiotics to help the body combat the infection. In worst cases, like for instance, if you already developed involvement of the heart, hospitalization may be needed as you may require intravenous infusion of antibiotics to prevent complications. The treatment usually lasts four to six weeks.

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How is Lyme Disease Prevented?

Lyme disease, like any other infection or disease process is better prevented than treated. Thus, the only goal in this case is to prevent being bitten by the tick, or if you've been bitten, make sure to remove the tick from your skin within 24 hours. If you're going out to hunt, going camping or simply looking for firewood in the forest, make sure to:

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  • Wear protective clothing like long sleeves, socks and shoes.
  • Spray on tick repellent on clothing before hunting, camping or hiking.
  • Avoid walking in tall grasses.
  • Make sure to check yourself and kids thoroughly after hunting or hiking, before going to bed.
  • Make sure domestic pets do not carry any ticks, by caring for them appropriately.
  • Remove the tick using tweezers, and consult your doctor immediately.

How to remove a tick

  • Remove the tick with a pair of tweezers. If you have no tweezers, use gloves or tissue paper over the tick to remove it. Never touch the tick directly.

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  • Grasp the tick as closely as possible to your skin, at its head. Never grab it at its body. Pull the tick out perpendicular to your skin. Never twist the tick, as this will possibly detach its head and mouth, leaving it still penetrating your skin.
  • The Center for Disease Control advises that you put the tick in a sealed container and place it in your freezer. This will help for easy identification and diagnosis of the disease.
  • Wash the bite area thoroughly with warm water and regular soap. Put some alcohol on the bite after you wash the area. Wash your hands well with soap and water. Be sure to not touch the tick with your fingers.

What are the suggested Antibiotics to treat Lyme Disease

There are a lot of Antibiotics that can be taken. However, there are only few that can be used for you to treat Lyme disease (If you get one). Here is the list of Antibiotics:

Generic name / Brand name

tetracycline

amoxicillin

ceftriaxone / Rocephin

cefotaxime / Claforan

doxycycline / Doryx, Vibramycin

cefuroxime / Ceftin

erythromycin / Erythrocin, Ery-Tab

penicillin

Why are these Antibiotics being approved by Doctors and why it is used?

The said Antibiotics are being used to reduce the future risk or great risk of complications and to cure early stages of a Lyme disease. These Antibiotics can also be used after stages of the said disease when there are other symptoms occurring in your body that involves joints, skin and your nervous system.

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The said antibiotics are not applicable to all ages and would always depend from your symptoms and age or allergies that you have also the stage of the said disease (Lyme disease). This can be taken through IV (Intravenous), Oral or by injection. Treat for using Antibiotics depends from how you got affected by the disease and the symptoms but its treatment normally it last up to 4 weeks or even less.

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Early Lyme disease treatment

  1. 1
    For 8 years old or even older than the said age.
    Days of the treatment depend on the antibiotic and how severe is the infection.
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  2. 2
    For those that are below 8 years of age.
    Amoxicillin is taken orally and other medicines will be taken considering if the child has an allergy to Amoxicillin.
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  3. 3
    Doxycycline can also be used to treat pregnant women or even children that are younger than 8 years of age.
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Later Stages of Lyme disease treatment

  1. 1
    Oral antibiotics will be taken for several weeks and known effective for having a facial paralysis without having problems with nervous system.
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  2. 2
    For having Lyme disease which the nervous system (Such as Lyme Meningitis) is affected or severe heart symptoms.
    Intravenous or IV Antibiotics may be required for treatment.
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  3. 3
    Oral antibiotics will be taken only for several weeks for those that are having Lyme Arthritis.
    Of the oral antibiotics is not successful then IV or Intravenous will be given to the patient.
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Pregnant women

  1. 1
    usually, pregnant women take antibiotics for a couple of weeks with early Lyme disease.
    Doctors or Some Doctors believe that early stages of the said disease for pregnant women should receive IV antibiotics to prevent the said disease bacteria crossing to the protective membrane or Placenta. However, there is no proof for such treatment.
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  2. 2
    For those that has late Lyme disease will take IV antibiotics which is normally used.
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How well the treatment works?

Early treatment of antibiotics can cure the said disease infection and can prevent problems with arthritis in the future, the nervous system or even the heart. There is a big but there as those symptoms may not go away so easily or right away and may last for few weeks after treating. This is an indication that the patient with the said disease will need further or additional antibiotics.

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Early symptoms treatment of chronic Lyme Arthritis is usually effective. Joints that are being damage (Badly Damage) by the Lyme Arthritis may take very long after being cured. Some people or a small percentage reports that people in United States are continuously getting symptoms of the chronic Lyme Arthritis after treating it with antibiotics. Symptoms in the heart will being to go away even before you take antibiotics or given. Heart symptoms (Mild) may occur in the early stages of the said disease and improve after treating it with oral amoxicillin or even doxycycline up to 30 days. Lyme meningitis begin to improve by the 2nd day of the treatment and will or usually go away from 7 to the 10th day.

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Tips

Call 911 or emergency services in your area if you feel that you have:

  1. 1
    Problem with breathing
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  2. 2
    Your face is swelling, such as:
    Tongue, throat or your lips.
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Call your doctor if you have:

  1. 1
    Mild Diarrhea
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  2. 2
    Bad taste in your mouth
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  3. 3
    A vaginal Yeast infection
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  4. 4
    Upset Stomach or having Nausea
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  5. 5
    Having a severe diarrhea
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  6. 6
    Developed hives
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  7. 7
    You feel that you are sick for more than 24 hours already after you have starting an antibiotic treatment.
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Bibliography

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • American College of Rheumatology
  • American Lyme Disease Foundation
  • National Library of Medicine

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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Olivia, Lynn, Doug Collins

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