Lyme Disease Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

Lyme Disease Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

Most people associate the typical appearance of the “bulls-eye” with an infection of the Lyme disease. But there are other variations of skin appearance that everyone should be aware of. Typically in 66% of cases rashes appear within 7-21 days after the tick bite.

Bulls-eye Picture

Bulls-Eye, Typical appearance

 

Lyme Disease Rash

Erythema migrans rash

Lyme Disease Rash

Erythema migrans rash

 

Lyme Disease Rash

Erythema migrans rash

Erythema migrans rash

Erythema migrans rash

 

 

ACCOMPANYING SYMPTOMSLyme Disease Symptoms

  • headache,
  • joint pain,
  • muscle pain,
  • fever,
  • fatigue
  • decreased short-term memory or ability to concentrate.
  • speech problems

TREATMENT OF LYME DISEASE

Oral (Doxycycline (Patients ≥8 y)Amoxicillin Cefuroxime Paxetil) and intravenous (CeftriaxoneCefotaximePenicillin G) treatments are available and if diagnosed correctly, most people will make a full recovery.

The most common reason for failure of treatment is misdiagnosis: the patient did not have Lyme disease or the disease was not diagnosed at all. Treatment is generally safe and highly effective.

COMPLICATIONS FROM THE DISEASE OR TREATMENT

Complications are extremely rare in children; however complete heart block can cause fainting (syncope) and sudden death. There have been extremely rare reports of serious inflammation of the optic nerve (ON- optic neuritis) or blindness that resulted from persistent increased intracranial pressure that was not managed adequately.

Arthritis is far and away the most common manifestation of late Lyme disease, affecting up to 30% of children whose early-stage disease went untreated.

CHRONIC LYME DISEASE

If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, the bacteria (spirochetes) can spread and may go into hiding in different parts of the body. Weeks, months or even years later, patients may develop problems with the brain and nervous system, muscles and joints, heart and circulation, digestion, reproductive system, and skin. Symptoms may disappear even without treatment and different symptoms may appear at different times.

Untreated or undertreated Lyme can cause some people to develop severe symptoms that are hard to resolve. This condition may be referred to as post-treatment Lyme disease (PTLD) or chronic Lyme disease (CLD). It is unknown exactly how many people who are diagnosed and treated remain ill. CDC estimates range from 10-20%. A recent study of early Lyme disease treated at EM rash reported 36% remain ill. (Aucott 2013)

Lyme Disease Symptom Checklist

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Tick Prevention Tips

Tick Prevention Tips

PreventionTick Preventioin

The best way to fight any tick virus is to avoid getting bitten by ticks:

  • Wear long pants and long shirts if you’re out in forests, grassy or bushy areas. Tuck pants into your socks.
  • Wear light colors so you can see ticks easier.
  • Use insect an insect repellent that will deter ticks.
  • Clothing can be treated with Permethrin. Permethrin is an insecticide derived from a constituent of the chrysanthemum flower. This spray is for clothing ONLY. Please do not spray this product on your skin!
  • Checking your entire body for ticks after time spent in wooded areas. You can use a lint roller to catch any ticks that may have landed on your clothing.
  • Carefully remove any ticks as soon as possible.  Click here “How to properly remove a tick”
  • For those in rural areas, keep grass on your property short and rake up leaves
  • If you develop an unexplained fever and a headache after time in the woods, see your doctor immediately.

PROTECTION FOR DOGS & CATSDog Prevention Tip

Ticks can cause a variety of medical problems for our four legged friends. There are many tick control products on the market such as once-a-month topical products, sprays, powders, shampoos and collars.

  • Once-a-month Topicals: The easiest to use and generally the longest lasting, this product is applied to a small area on the back of the pet. Some kill fleas and ticks, and others just fleas, so check the label carefully. Ingredients generally include permethrin, pyrethrin, or fipronil. CAUTION: Do not use products containing permethrin on cats, as it is deadly to felines.
  • Powders: Generally easy to apply, but messy. Powder may not be your best choice if you or your pet has asthma, as the product could be inhaled. Ensure to use powders in well-ventilated areas. Powders often contain pyrethrin.
  • Shampoos:  Shampoos help primarily rid your pet of the ticks already on him, although some have residual activity. To properly use a tick shampoo, ensure the shampoo is applied over the entire body and leave it on at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Remember to protect the eyes and ears of the pet.
  • Collars: Flea/Tick collars are effective, when applied properly.  Ensure the collar is snug. You should only be able to get 2 fingers between the collar and your pet’s neck. If the collar has any excess band after fitting, ensure to cut it off to avoid your pet trying to chew on the end. Read the label on protection time as many collars lose their effectiveness when they get wet.  It is also a good idea to check for any irritation under the collar. You may need to use a different product if an irritation occurs.

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Lyme Disease War Zone

Lyme Disease War Zone

The tick population is growing in alarming numbers. In the US over 300,000 cases of Lyme Disease are reported annually (Source: CDC). This number does not include the unreported cases.Black Legged Tick

In Canada ticks are becoming more common, even in Alberta, Edmonton areas according to University of Alberta entomologist, Janet Sperling.  But as far back as 2008, Canada’s Public Health Agency warned in one of its biweekly communicable disease reports for medical professionals that Lyme-infected ticks could be carried into Canada by the some 3 billion land birds that migrate north each year.

Climate change and warmer winters in Canada show that the movement of migratory birds help to establish a new Lyme diseased tick population in Canada.

Both in the US and Canada ecologists expect a surge in the number of ticks carrying Lyme Disease. “The risk to humans is going to be high starting this spring,” said Felicia Keesing, a biologist at Bard College in New York, who has spent years researching tick-borne diseases.

Avril Lavigne is one of the celebrities contracting Lyme disease. After months of fatigue, the Canadian singer-songwriter was finally diagnosed with the tick-borne illness and recovered fully. Others are not that lucky. Best-selling author Amy Tan contracted the disease and wasn’t diagnosed in a timely manner. Amy suffers now from epilepsy, and memory loss!

In Europe the World Health Organization records about 35,000 Lyme cases each year, and approx. 3,500 reported in Asia.

 

WHAT CAUSES THE INCREASE OF LYME-CARRYING TICKSEngorged Ticks on white footed mouse

Simply there is an increase of feeding hosts for the ticks. In the US, the summer of 2015 produced the perfect conditions for oak trees to produce acorns. Acorns are the main food source for the white footed mouse. This large abundance of acorns lead to an exploding mouse population. The white-footed mice are the most popular hosts for black-legged ticks, the main carrier of Lyme disease. With more mice, ticks can more easily find their feast. Ticks live on the mice, reproduce and pass down the Lyme disease to the nymphs.

Nymphs are more dangerous and they have the highest rate of transmitting the disease because they are incredibly difficult to notice (size of a poppy seed). Black-legged ticks have increased their range by 20 percent from 1998 and are now found in 50 percent of U.S. counties.

Another favorite host for ticks is the deer, not to surprise, the deer population exploded in the last decades. In an attempt to combat the spread of Lyme disease, some states have even implemented culling in certain areas.

In Canada, Alberta most people are not even aware of the Lyme-diseased ticks. According to Janet Sperling, one in five Albertans bitten could contract Lyme disease. Studies found that about one in five ticks have Lyme disease in Alberta. In Manitoba, that ratio is 50% of the tick population is infected. These are alarming numbers. “Lyme disease is definitely diagnosed in dogs and definitely found in ticks”, says Sperling. What concerns her is the viewpoint of medical practitioners,  that there’s never been a case of human infection here in Alberta. She believes, that there are quite a number of people who have contracted Lyme disease here in Alberta, but was not counted by the official statistics as an actual Lyme disease case.

Reported Lyme Disease Cases

Source: CDC

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Powassan Virus Threat

Powassan Virus Threat

Info on the Powassan VirusExperts fear the spread of the rare Powassan Virus, according to Dr. Kent Holford, a Lyme disease expert. The disease is rare, but can be fatal if not treated immediately. The virus was first identified in the 1950s in a boy from Powassan, Ont., near North Bay, who became infected and died.

The potentially lethal disease transmitted by ticks can cause brain swelling and death to 15% of those who contract it. A single bite from an infected tick can transmit the disease within 15 minutes. Which makes this type of virus more dangerous than the Lyme disease, which takes 24 hours to cause an infection after a tick bite.

A fact that is really frightening is that the Powassan virus differs from tick-borne Lyme disease because it isn’t a bacteria and therefore can’t be treated with antibiotics.

WHERE DOES THIS VIRUS COME FROM?

Powassan (POW) virus is an RNA virus that belongs to the genus Flavivirus. It is related to West Nile, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Tick-borne encephalitis viruses. An RNA virus is a virus that has RNA (ribonucleic acid) as its genetic material.

CURRENT STATISTICS AND GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS OF POW

Between 2006 and 2015 a total of 77 reported, 8 of them were neuroinvasive and resulted in death.

A majority of the cases were reported in New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Massachusetts. The virus is likely contained to the northeastern U.S. and Great Lakes region, according to the CDC.

Human POW virus infections also have been reported in Canada and Russia.

The one bit of bright news is that Powassan is still relatively rare in Canada, says Dr. Matthew Gilmour, the scientific director general of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s national microbiology laboratory. However, warmer winters, public health officials in both Canada and northeastern United States say tick population are growing, which could lead to more tick-borne infections of all types.

Source: CDC

POWS Signs & Symptoms

  • Some people who contract the virus (POW) will not have any symptoms.
  • POW virus can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
  • Incubation period ranges from 1 week to 1 month. Incubation period is the time from when the tick bite to the onset of the illness.
  • Fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and seizures.
  • Approximately half of survivors have permanent neurological symptoms. (Muscle atrophy, recurrent headaches,  memory loss)
  • Approximately 10% of POW virus encephalitis cases are fatal.

Treatment

  • There are no treatments or vaccines for the POW virus!
  • Infected people with severe symptoms often require hospitalization.
  • Treatments include respiratory support, intravenous fluids, and medications to reduce swelling in the brain.

Info on Lyme Disease

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NEWS on Dangerous Ticks!

NEWS on Dangerous Ticks!

DANGEROUS TICKS

300,000 cases of Lyme disease each year!

Ticks are spreading at an alarming rate in North America. In Alberta, Canada (Edmonton area) where ticks never were an issue, the province is seeing now infected ticks, and that is becoming a huge problem. It is important to know more of the geographical areas ticks have spread, which ones are dangerous to your health,  and what you can do to prevent the possibility of getting bitten.

New information is available on various topics that you may find useful.

LYME DISEASE WAR ZONE

Ticks carrying Lyme disease are expected to be rampant on the Appalachian Trail and much of the East coast this summer.

Click here to read full article

IMPORTANT INFO ON THE POWASSAN VIRUS WITH PREVENTION TIPS

Experts fear the spread of the rare Powassan Virus, according to Dr. Kent Holford, a Lyme disease expert. The disease is rare, but can be fatal if not treated immediately. Click here to read more about the Powassan Virus.

LYME DISEASE SIGNS, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT

Sometimes an infected bite may not be recognized, because many people are only looking for the “bull-eye” look on the skin. There are many variations of skin rashes that many do not know. Click here to learn more.

Lyme Disease Symptom Checklist

Next Month Upcoming Articles:

KNOW YOUR TICKS

CANADA REPORTING TRENDS ON TICKS

 

HOW TO SAFELY REMOVE A TICK

 

 

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