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Lyme disease information

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is an infection that derives from a tick bite. The disease has a variety of symptoms, including changes affecting the skin, heart, joints and nervous system. It is also known as borrelia or borreliosis.

What causes Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. Infected ticks spread the bacteria by biting people or animals.

What about the later stages of Lyme disease?

If Lyme disease isn't treated, it can spread to other parts of the body. The symptoms of late-stage. Lyme arthritis often affects only one of the large joints, such as the knee. Sometimes it may affect more than one joint.

Lyme Disease Diagnosis

Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, objective physical findings (such as facial palsy, or arthritis), and a history of possible exposure to infected ticks. Validated laboratory tests can be very helpful but are not generally recommended when a patient has erythema migrans.

Lyme Disease At A Glance
  • Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that is spread by tick bites.
  • Lyme disease can affect the skin, joints, heart, and the nervous system.
  • Lyme disease occurs in phases—the early phase beginning at the site of the tick bite with an expanding ring of redness.
  • Lyme disease is diagnosed based on the patient's clinical signs of illness and the detection of Lyme antibodies in the blood.
  • Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.

    What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

    The symptoms of Lyme disease are often described in three stages, although not all patients have symptoms of each stage. The first sign of infection is usually a circular rash called erythema migrans or EM. This rash occurs in about 70-80% of infected persons and begins at the site of the tick bite after a delay of three days to one month. Patients often also experience symptoms such as: fatigue, chills, feverheadache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes.

    What is the treatment for Lyme disease?

    Early treatment of Lyme disease involves antibiotics and almost always results in a full cure. However, the chances of a complete cure decrease if treatment is delayed.

    Prevention

    When walking or hiking in wooded or grassy areas, tuck long pants into socks to protect the legs, and wear shoes and light-colored, long-sleeved shirts. Ticks show up better on white or light colored-clothing than dark items. Spray your clothes with insect repellant.

    Medical treatment

    Medicines used against Lyme disease include:oral doxycycline (eg Vibramycin) (except in children), amoxicillin (eg Amoxil) or cephalosporin antibiotics are the usual first choices. when antibiotics by injection are being given, then benzylpenicillin (eg Crystapen), cefotaxime (Claforan) and ceftriaxone (Rocephin) are the usual choices.

  • How can I prevent Lyme disease?

  • The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Wear light-colored clothing that covers most of your skin when you go into the woods or an area overgrown with grass and bushes. This makes it easier to see and remove ticks from your clothing. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and wear pants instead of shorts. Tuck your pant legs into your socks for added protection. Remember that ticks are usually found close to the ground, especially in moist, shaded areas.



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