Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted through the bite of a tick infected with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Generally, this disease is transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick. such as the tick becomes infected after feeding on infected deer, birds, or mice.
A tick has to be present on the skin for at least 36 hours to transmit the infection. For the most part, many people with Lyme disease have no memory of a tick bite.
Lyme disease was first recognized in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975. It’s the most common tick-borne illness in Europe and the United States.
Such as people who live or spend time in wooded areas can transform the disease are more likely to get this illness. People with domesticated animals that visit wooded areas also have a higher risk of getting an infection.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
People with the infection may react to it differently, and the symptoms can vary in severity.
Accordingly, there are three stages of Lyme disease early localize, early disseminate, and late disseminate — symptoms can overlap. Some people will also present in a later stage of disease without having symptoms of earlier disease.
These are some of the more common symptoms of Lyme disease:
- a flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval or bull’s-eye anywhere on your body
- joint pain and swelling
- muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
- sleep disturbance
- also, difficulty concentrating
For the most part contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
Lyme disease symptoms in children
Children generally experience the same Lyme disease symptoms as adults.
As a result of they usually experience:
These symptoms may occur soon after the infection, or months or years later.
For example, your child may have Lyme disease and not have the bulls-eye rash. Such as according to an early study, results showed roughly 89 percent of children had a rash
Lyme disease treatment
In the first place, it is best to treat Lyme disease in the early stage. Treatment for early localized disease is a simple 10- to 14-day course of oral antibiotics to eliminate the infection.
Medications used to treat Lyme disease include:
- doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime, which are first-line treatments in adults and children
- cefuroxime and amoxicillin, which are used to treat women who are nursing or breastfeeding
Generally Lyme disease, including those with cardiac or central nervous system (CNS) involvement. Intravenous (IV) antibiotics should be used for the treatment.
After improvement and to finish the course of treatment, healthcare providers will typically switch to an oral regimen. therefore the complete course of treatment usually takes 14–28 days.
Lyme arthritis Trusted Source, a late-stage symptom of the infection that may present in some people, is treated with oral antibiotics for 28 days.
If you’re treated for the infection with antibiotics but continue to experience symptoms, it is referred to as post Lyme disease syndrome or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
About 10 to 20 percent of people with Lyme disease experience this syndrome. The cause is unknown.
Post-Lyme disease syndrome can affect your mobility and cognitive skills. Treatment is primarily focused on easing pain and discomfort. Most people recover, but it can take months or years.
Post-Lyme disease symptoms
The symptoms of post Lyme disease syndrome are similar to those that occur in the earlier stages.
These symptoms may include:
- sleep disturbance
- aching joints or muscles
- pain or swelling in your large joints, such as your knees, shoulders, or elbows
- difficulty concentrating and short-term memory problems
- speech problems
Is Lyme disease contagious?
such as there is no evidence that Lyme disease is contagious among people. Also, pregnant women cannot transmit the disease to their fetus through their breast milk.
The black-legged deer ticks transmit the bacteria causing Lyme disease. These bacteria stay in the bodily fluids. But there’s no evidence that it can infect another person through sneezing, coughing, or kissing.
There is also no evidence that Lyme disease can infect by sexually transmitted or transmitted through a blood transfusion.
Lyme disease can occur in three stages:
- early localized
- early disseminated
- late disseminated
The symptoms you experience will depend on which stage the disease is in.
The progression of infection can vary by individual. Some people who have it don’t go through all three stages.
Stage 1: Early localized disease
Symptoms of the infection 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 isn’t painful and doesn’t itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans are the characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people don’t have this symptom.
Some people have a rash that’s 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 infection include:
Stage 2: Early disseminated Lyme disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks to months after the tick bite.
You’ll have a general feeling of being unwell, and a rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means the infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- multiple erythema multiforme (EM) lesions
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
Stage 3: Late disseminated Lyme disease
Late disseminated Lyme disease occurs when the infection hasn’t been treated in stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 can occur months or years after the tick bite.
This stage is characterized by:
- arthritis of one or more large joints
- brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, which can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, problems with following conversations, and sleep disturbance
- numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet
Diagnosing the infection begins with a review of your health history, which includes looking for reports of tick bites or residence in an endemic area.
Your healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam to look for the presence of a rash or other symptoms characteristic of infection.
Testing during early localized infection is not recommended.
Blood tests are most reliable a few weeks after the initial infection when antibodies are present. Your healthcare provider may order the following tests:
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)is used to detect antibodies against B. burgdorferi.
- Western blot is used to confirm a positive ELISA test. It checks for the presence of antibodies to specific B. burgdorferi proteins.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)Trusted Source is used to evaluate people with persistent Lyme arthritis or nervous system symptoms. It is performed on joint fluid or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). PCR testing on CSF for diagnosis of the infection is not routinely recommended due to low sensitivity. A negative test doesn’t rule out the diagnosis. In contrast, most people will have positive PCR results in joint fluid if tested prior to antibiotic therapy.
Infection prevention mostly involves decreasing your risk of experiencing a tick bite.
Take the following steps to prevent tick bites:
- Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when in the outdoors.
- Make your yard unfriendly to ticks by clearing wooded areas, keeping underbrush to a minimum, and putting woodpiles in areas with lots of suns.
- Use insect repellent. One with 10 percent DEET will protect you for about 2 hours. Don’t use more DEET than the requirement for the time you’ll be outside, and don’t use it on the hands of young children or the faces of children under the age of 2 months old.
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus gives the same protection as DEET when used in similar concentrations. Do not use on children below 3 years.
- Be vigilant. Check your children, pets, and yourself for ticks. If you have an infection, don’t assume you can’t be infected again. You can get the infection more than once.
- Remove ticks with tweezers. Apply the tweezers near the head or the mouth of the tick and pull gently. Check to be certain that all tick parts have been removed.
Infection occurs by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.
According to the CDC, infected black-legged ticks transmit Lyme disease in the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, and North Central United States. Western black-legged ticks transmit the disease on the Pacific Coast of the United States.
Lyme disease transmission
Ticks can infect with the bacterium B. burgdorferi can attach to any part of your body. They’re more commonly found in areas of your body that are hard to see, such as the scalp, armpits, and groin areas.
If an infectious tick attaches to your body for at least 36 hours in order to infect you.
The immature ticks nymphs bite most people. These tiny ticks are very difficult to see. They feed during the spring and summer. Adult ticks also carry the bacteria, but they’re easier to see and can be removed before transmitting it.
There is no proof that the infection can transmit through air, food, or water. There’s also no proof that it can transmit between people through touching, kissing, or having sex.
Living with Lyme disease
Lyme disease with antibiotics may take weeks or months for all the symptoms to disappear.
You can take these steps to help promote your recovery:
- Eat healthy foods and avoid foods that contain a large amount of sugar.
- Get lots of rest.
- Try to reduce stress.
- Take an anti-inflammatory medication when necessary to ease pain and discomfort.
Test tick for Lyme disease
Some commercial laboratories will test ticks for Lyme disease.
Although you may want to have a tick tested after it bites you, the (CDC) doesn’t recommend testing for the following reasons:
- Commercial laboratories that offer tick testing do not necessarily have the same stringent quality control standards as those for clinical diagnostic laboratories.
- If the tick tests positive for a disease-causing organism, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have Lyme disease.
- A negative result can come if an infectious or different tick would bite you.
- To start the treatment you should first wait for the diagnostic test result and symptoms.