For many people living with Lyme Disease, the road to diagnosis is often a painful experience in itself. In some cases, patients are misdiagnosed as having other diseases and even after a proper diagnosis there may still be a lot of confusion and medical misinformation about Lyme Disease. Many patients, stricken with chronic pain and fatigue – affecting their minds as well as their bodies, are not receiving the treatment they need to restore their health.
Understanding that the symptoms and co-infections may present themselves differently from patient-to-patient, our approach to treatment is customized for every individual case. Depending on the Lyme patient’s symptoms and needs, we may employ a combination of the therapies and innovative approaches we’ve developed over our collective years of practice. For more information on our Lyme treatments call Infuse Life today.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migraines. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.
Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease
Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Seek medical attention if you observe any of these symptoms and have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.
Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 days after tick bite)
- Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migraines (EM) rash:
- Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
- Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days)
- Expands gradually over a period of days reaching up to 12 inches or more (30 cm) across
- May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
- Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull’s-eye” appearance
- May appear on any area of the body
- See examples of EM rashes
Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months after tick bite)
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
- Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme carditis)
- Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- Nerve pain
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
- Problems with short-term memory
- Fever and other general symptoms may occur in the absence of rash.
- A small bump or redness at the site of a tick bite that occurs immediately and resembles a mosquito bite, is common. This irritation generally goes away in 1-2 days and is not a sign of Lyme disease.
- A rash with a very similar appearance to EM occurs with Southern Tick-associated Rash Illness (STARI), but is not Lyme disease
- Ticks can spread other organisms that may cause a different type of rash.
Page last reviewed: December 21, 2018
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD)
Data and Surveillance
Possible cases of Lyme disease are reported to state and local health departments by health care providers and laboratories. State health departments classify cases according to standard criteria outlined in the Lyme disease case definition and report confirmed and probable cases to CDC. The extent of case investigations varies by state. Investigations are often dependent on available resources and staff time. Some states describe their surveillance methods in detail on their health department website.
Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC by state health departments and the District of Columbia. However, this number does not reflect every case of Lyme disease that is diagnosed in the United States every year. Standard national surveillance is only one way that public health officials can track where a disease is occurring and with what frequency. Recent estimates using other methods suggest that approximately 300,000 people may get Lyme disease each year in the United States.
Lyme Disease Treatment Methods
When Lyme symptoms persist or recur, we combine antibiotics with a variety of natural treatments that include the following: