Healthy Living

Lyme Disease: The Top 10 Questions

Lyme Disease: The Top 10 Questions

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that spreads to humans by way of ticks. It is transmitted primarily by Ixodes ticks, also called deer ticks or black-legged ticks in the west. These tiny arachnids are usually found in wooded or grassy areas.

This disease is caused by a spirochete, a cork-screw shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is often called “the great imitator” since its symptoms imitate many other conditions. It has the ability to affect any organ in the body including the nervous system, brain, heart, joints, and muscles.

Because the diagnosis of Lyme disease can be troublesome, people with the condition are frequently misdiagnosed with other conditions. These conditions include chronic fatigue symptoms, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and various psychiatric conditions such as depression. Being misdiagnosed with other diseases can delay the correct treatment and diagnosis as the underlying infection is left to progress unchecked.

Lyme disease can affect people of all ages. However, it most commonly affects older adults, children, and park rangers or firefighters who spend extended periods outdoors and have an increased exposure to ticks.

Lyme disease can often be treated effectively and successfully if it is detected early on. However, if it is not treated or treatment is delayed, there's a risk that the patient could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms.

  1. What is Lyme Disease? It is a bacterial infection which is known to spread in humans through the ticks known a lxodes ticks. These ticks can be mostly found in grassy and wooded places. This disease is also named as spirochete or the great imitator. The reason is because the symptoms mostly are known to imitate other medical conditions.
  2. How long does it take to tell if one has Lyme disease? The symptoms of Lyme disease is known to start at any time between the period of three to thirty days post the individual has been infected. The symptoms during the incubation period can be confused with other symptoms.
  3. Any cure for Lyme disease? This disease does have a cure and it can be managed effectively when the individual is diagnosed a bit earlier. Those who were detected earlier where managed with antibiotics and in case of those with severe case would need intravenous antibiotics. The treatment for the advanced case of Lyme can run from several weeks to a month or more than that.
  4. How long can you have Lyme and still not know about it? Many a times those who have been bitten by tick will not even be aware about it hence this way the tick can stay on the skin for longer duration. The symptoms mostly get misinterpreted to the flu like symptoms.
  5. How is Lyme diagnosed? Blood test may not always show a positive for Lyme hence doctors mostly recommend going in for two types of blood tests, those are the western blot and the second one is enzyme immunoassay or EI. If both these tests show positive results, then it is a confirmed case of Lyme.
  6. What if Lyme goes untreated? Based on the stage of this disease, there are a host of symptoms which can appear if this disease goes untreated on a timely manner. Those symptoms can include Fever, paralysis of the face, rashes on the skin and arthritis.
  7. Can you get Lyme disease from a dog, bed bug or flea? Many a times, individual would get Lyme from the bite of an immature form of tick known as the nymph. Felines and dogs are known to also get Lyme but currently there are no evidences that would indicate that either of the animal can pass this disease to any human.
  8. What to do if bitten by a tick? Firstly, one should ensure to remove the tick properly. In case if the tick is not removed properly, if it is squeezed, or applied oil to it then there are chances that it could lead to transmitted the bugs. Get tested for Lyme disease and also show the doctor the tick if possible.
  9. How soon after a tick bite could you start to experience a rash or symptoms? The symptoms can start between three to thirty days post the individual becoming infected. The rash is known to spread in circular pattern but not everyone gets this rash.
  10. Can a person get Lyme twice? Few individuals do face recurrent cases of Lyme disease even if they had taken the antibiotics previously and been recovered.