Lyme disease is an infectious disease which is transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick carrying the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is often diagnosed on the basis of symptoms, physical examinations (such as rashes) and probability of exposure to infected ticks. Some of the characteristic symptoms of a patient suffering from Lyme disease include fever, headache, weakness, muscle or joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and a typical type of skin rash known as erythema migrans. This disease is a serious issue and if left untreated, it can even spread to the joints, the nervous system and the heart. The symptoms of Lyme disease usually show up within a time period of 3 to 30 days after the bite and the symptoms are usually wide ranging depending upon the stage of the infection.
It is important to note that not all persons receiving a tick bite gets the disease. According to some recent research works it has been said that the possibility that a person may get Lyme disease from the bite of a blacklegged tick depends on whether the tick was previously infected with the bacterium or not, the place and time when the bite occurred, the time for which the tick remained attached to the person. Hence observing the symptoms of the patient accompanied with a few laboratory tests are the best ways of diagnosis for Lyme disease. Studies have proven that blacklegged ticks must stay attached for at least 24 hours in order to spread Lyme disease to the victim.
Once a patient having such symptoms is diagnosed as having Lyme disease, then he/she is treated with regular doses of antibiotics. People who are treated with the appropriate antibiotics at an early stage of the disease are usually seen to recover sooner and completely. Some of the common antibiotics used for the oral treatment of Lyme disease include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients who have neurological or cardiac ailments are given intravenous medications of antibiotics like ceftriaxone or penicillin.
When doctors diagnose a patient for Lyme disease, then they mainly look for the history of possible exposure of the person to infected blacklegged ticks and the signs or symptoms shown by the patient. Pathological tests of blood samples of the patient are often helpful in diagnosis, if they are used correctly and performed with validated methods. It is very important to be cautious so as to avoid misdiagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, when the actual cause of the ailment is something else.
In medical science, Lyme disease is basically described in three stages. During the first stage the symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, skin inflammation and rashes. The second stage of the disease is characterised by spreading of the disease to the heart and the nervous system and may involve palsies and meningitis. On the other hand, during the late stage of this disease the featuring motor and sensory nerves get damaged and brain inflammation and arthritis may also develop.
Lyme disease can be cured completely with appropriate antibiotics, if the patient is diagnosed at an early stage. The common antibiotics which are used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients, who have some neurological or cardiac ailments, are given intravenous medications of antibiotics like ceftriaxone or penicillin. Oral medications like azithromycin, clarithromycin or erythromycin may be also used in the treatment of Lyme disease, although they are known to have lower efficacy. These medications should be continued for a period of 10 to 21 days until the patient recovers. It is highly recommended that the patient should take doses of the prescribed medicines regularly, as directed by their doctors. In case a patient suffers from any side effect or allergies due to such medication, then he/she must immediately consult their doctor.
Any person who has been bitten by blacklegged tick and is suffering from symptoms like fever, headache, weakness, muscle or joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and a typical type of skin rash known as erythema migrans, are said to have Lyme disease and are eligible for such treatment. Pathological tests of blood samples of the patient are also helpful in the diagnosis of Lyme disease, if they are used correctly and performed with validated methods. It is very important to be cautious, so as to avoid misdiagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, when the actual cause of the ailment is something else.
Any person who are not bitten by blacklegged tick in the near past and do not show symptoms of having Lyme disease are not eligible for this treatment. A proper diagnosis is very essential, so as to avoid problems associated with misdiagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, if the actual cause of the sickness lies somewhere else. Moreover, it is recommended that Doxycycline (an antibiotic, used for the treatment of Lyme disease) should not be given to pregnant women or children younger than 8 years of age.
Not all people undergoing a treatment for Lyme disease, is said to suffer from side effects of medication. For some people, the side effects may be minor and can be dealt with easily; whereas for others who are allergic to a particular medication may suffer from some serious side effects. Some of the side effects for treatment of Lyme disease include troubled breathing, swelling of face, tongue, lips or throat due to allergic reactions, developing hives, severe diarrhoea, bad taste in mouth, nausea, vomiting, vaginal yeast infection and others. Some people may even develop higher fever, redder rashes or increased pain during the initial 24 hours of antibiotic therapy. This is not an allergic reaction, but a symptom that may be indicative of rapid death of the bacteria. People suffering from any of these side effects need to consult their doctor immediately so that alternative medications can be prescribed if necessary.
The symptoms of Lyme disease become very complicated if treated at a later stage. However, quicker and complete treatment of a patient suffering from Lyme disease is possible, if he/she is properly treated at an early stage. The post treatment guidelines for treatment of such a disease essentially involve taking the prescribed medicines regularly on time as directed by the doctor. If a patient is not taking the medicines regularly, then he/she may invite severe health risks or even life risk.
If a female patient is pregnant, breast feeding or planning to get pregnant then she must stop taking Doxycycline because such an antibiotic may harm the baby growing within their womb. Such female patients should not take any medicine without consulting a doctor.
Follow-up care is an important part for the treatment and safety of the patients suffering from Lyme disease. The patient should make sure to go to every appointment or call up their doctor in case they are having any problem during the course of treatment.
Treatment of Lyme disease at an early stage has proved to be the most effective in curing the patients from such an infection and in eliminating future health problems related to arthritis, the heart or the nervous system. Some of the symptoms may not go right away and can stay for several weeks even after the complete course of treatment is given. The time taken by a person to recover from such a disease may vary depending upon the degree of infection that the person had before the treatment began. However, on an average it takes almost 21 to 30 days for a patient to recover after the treatment is done.
The price of treatment of Lyme disease in India may vary depending upon the cost of medicines prescribed by the doctor. On an average, the cost of consulting a doctor (in India) regarding the problems of Lyme disease ranges from Rs. 300 to Rs. 1,500 (per consultation). The cost of medicines in India throughout the course of treatment may range from Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 5,000. Hence, the total cost for treatment of patients suffering from Lyme disease may range from Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 10,000 (for each patient). This treatment is easily available in almost all cities and towns in India.
Lyme disease can be completely cured if the patients are treated at an early stage. However, with time, serious complications of heart, joints or nervous system may occur if the patient is left untreated. These symptoms can also be treated with appropriate medications but the time taken to treat patients with such complications is usually long. In case of Chronic Lyme disease, some of the symptoms may stay even after the complete treatment is done. Such symptoms like fatigue and muscle aches may stay for months before a patient feels completely well.
Once a patient gets infected by the bite of a blacklegged tick and develops Lyme disease then taking antibiotics regularly, at an early stage of the disease, is the best way of treatment. However, another alternative way to overcome such a disease is by naturally boosting a person’s immune system, lowering inflammation and management of the root cause of the symptoms occurring in such cases. Including food items, such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, coconut, bone broth, organic meat, raw cultured dairy products and foods rich in vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and probiotics, in a person’s diet helps to increase the immunity of the person and prevents them from getting infected from Lyme disease.
Rs. 4,500 – Rs. 10,000
In some cases, you can get an infection due to bites from deer ticks and this is known as Lyme disease. This typically happens when you are moving around in open forest areas and the ticks can be stuck to the grass in that area. They are very small and you can almost miss them when you see them with the naked eye. The Borrelia Burgdorferi bacterium infects the ticks and they can pass on the infection to your body when they bite you during your outdoor activities. Some of the symptoms are rashes, etc. in the joints combined with flu-like symptoms. In many cases, the symptoms may not show up immediately and you may notice them after a few weeks. Timely treatment can effectively cure the problem and you will not get severe complications out of this infection.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
- The symptoms of Lyme disease can occur even at a later stage after the initial bite and you have to carefully watch for rashes and other common symptoms.
- The rash slowly starts spreading from the affected area and it can grow a few inches around the affected area. Even though it is not painful and does not itch in usual cases, it is obviously visible with a red patch in the affected area.
- Arthritis and joint pain are common when you are suffering from this problem and it can also lead to shooting pains in some cases.
- It is also common to get tired and fatigue is easily the most visible symptom of this disease.
- When timely treatment is not provided, the disease can spread to other regions and you will notice similar rashes in other regions of the body.
- Some people also complain about pain in the joints and there can be swelling in the area for no reason. This can also shift from one particular region to another within a few days.
- In extreme cases, it can even lead to inflammation in the brain region and even lead to facial paralysis. However, this can be temporary and it often affects the muscular movements.
- Some people also develop irregular heartbeat and other problems related to the heart a few days after the infection. Others may even develop hepatitis and inflammation of the eyes in this period.
Causes of Lyme Disease
Getting a bite from an infected deer tick is the major cause of Lyme disease. In many areas, animals can carry such ticks on their bodies and this can move to different places and even reach your home through your pets or due to your exposure to such an environment. The Borrelia burgdorferi and the borrelia mayonii bacteria cause the most number of such cases in the United States. It can easily get into the bloodstream after the bite and you can get infected within a couple of days. Always watch out for the signs of Lyme disease so that you can easily get treatment at the right time.
Diagnosis of Lyme Disease
-Physical examination: This is done immediately after a suspected bite or when some symptoms like rashes are observed in the body. If this coincides with exposure to outdoor areas, you will need to tell them specifically to your doctor so that it does not lead to confusion about being symptoms of other diseases. Once the rashes are identified, you may be given some antibiotics to treat them in the initial stages. At this stage, it may still not be confirmed that it is Lyme disease and general antibiotics are given to control the symptoms. When symptoms persist, further diagnosis with blood tests may be required to determine the infection.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests are usually done immediately after the bite or when symptoms begin to appear within one week after the infection. Apart from this, a blood test may again be conducted after a few weeks as the infection may show up after many weeks and the development of antibodies in the body will indicate the presence of Lyme infection. In many cases, the first blood test may show negative results and the second one may show positive for this infection.
- ELISA Test: This is the standard test adopted in the early stages and it helps determine the antibodies for burgdorferi. When antibodies are present in the body, it confirms the infection. In many cases, this test is repeated again after a few weeks when the first one shows negative results.
- Western Blot Test: This test further confirms the presence of antibodies for the burgdorferi and doctors are able to begin the treatment process after this step. It is usually done twice in many cases to confirm the results within a few weeks gap as the infection may show up later in such cases.
Prevention of Lyme Disease
It is important to prevent Lyme disease as it can create various complications with your health. You need to understand that by avoiding exposure to areas affected with deer ticks, you will be able to drastically reduce the chances of getting this infection.
- When you are moving in such areas, it makes sense to cover yourself completely and avoid exposing any part of your body to the open air. Remember that these ticks cannot fly and they usually stay attached to some bushes or grass and hop onto your dress or exposed body parts when you get in touch with them. If you are carrying animals like dogs or cats for outdoor activities, be extra cautious about them as they can easily catch such infection in quick time.
- The biggest problem with Lyme infection is that the ticks that cause the infection are very tiny and you will find it very difficult to identify them with the naked eye. For this reason, you should always use insect repellants as per the advice of your doctor and keep yourself safe during outdoor activities. You can even use some repellants on your clothing to completely avoid the ticks from getting close to you during outdoor camping events.
- If you have an open space in your backyard, you should take measures to tick-proof them so that they cannot get inside your home. When you clear the bushes and leaves in the backyard, you will be removing the ticks in a major way and they will not find a convenient place to stay in your backyard.
- After coming back from an outing in the forest area, you should immediately change your dress and wash them thoroughly so that any ticks that might have got attached to your dress will not survive in your home. In the same way, even you should have a good shower and clean yourself completely and this will kill any ticks that are attached to your body without your notice.
- If you notice any ticks attached to your body, be very careful about it and remove it carefully. If you are not able to do it yourself, you must approach a doctor who will do it for you and they will even apply some antiseptic on the affected area. Remember that when you are able to remove them within a few hours after the bite, you will be safe from infection. Following these guidelines will help in the prevention of Lyme disease in the future.
Treatment for Lyme Disease
- Oral antibiotics: when the disease is still in the early stages, oral antibiotics are given to reduce the symptoms and this gives effective results in most of the cases. This should be taken for a couple of weeks to notice any significant results and many people get cured in this stage.
- Intravenous antibiotics: When the oral antibiotics are not effective, your doctor may suggest you use such methods and this will help you to overcome the infection in quick time. It can, however, cause some side effects in some people and this will go away after the treatment is completed.
Complications of Lyme Disease
- When treatment is not provided at the right time, you may face a lot of complications related to the functioning of the brain. This can be dangerous and you need to get proper treatment for the infection. Never neglect the symptoms and be careful about them as they may show up very late after getting a bite. For this reason, you should always use protective gear when venturing outside in the forest areas.
- In most cases, the neurological complications of this infection include impaired memory and this is common among elderly patients. Apart from that, some patients may also notice cognitive defects and this will be obvious when the infection has reached the advanced stage.
- In extreme cases, it can even lead to facial palsy and this condition can paralyze a part of the face and it usually gets tilted towards one side. However, the effect may be temporary in most cases and many patients eventually recover from this condition after a few months.
- Some patients also experience an irregular heartbeat and this can affect the functioning of other vital organs of the body. You should consult your doctor when you are suffering from such symptoms and get timely treatment to avoid further complications.
- The most common complication of Lyme disease is the joint inflammation and this affects the knees of the patients. It can cause extreme pain and this will last for a few weeks without any other reason. When you are facing this issue, your doctors will provide suitable medication to handle the symptoms and try to reduce the infection using antibiotics.
Myths about Lyme Disease
Myth #1. Lyme disease always produces rashes:
This is completely false and it may not produce a rash in every situation. However, other symptoms may persist and you need to visit your doctor to get a thorough examination before you can rule out the chances of infection.
Myth #2. Negative tests mean no disease:
Just because you have got negative results in the first test does not mean that you are safe from infection. In most cases, the symptoms can show up very late a few weeks after the initial bite and you need to take a second blood test to confirm the results.
Myth# 3.No risk of Lyme disease in our area:
Many people have the misconception that only certain areas are prone to Lyme infection and you may be safe when such infections are not found in your area. While this is true to a certain extent, you cannot be always sure about this and always go for proper treatment whenever you notice symptoms in your body. Remember that the ticks causing Lyme infection can travel through animals and other means and reach an area to cause infection.
Myth# 4.Lyme disease will not reappear:
This is not entirely true and you can get Lyme disease again when you are infected with the bacteria. For this reason, you should always be careful when you venture into places that are prone to such attacks. Make sure that you wear proper gear and protect yourself from such exposure. You should also understand that every bite from a deer tick will not cause Lyme disease and only a bite from the infected tick will cause such problems. However, you should leave nothing to chance and always follow the precautionary measures to avoid the infection in the future.
If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease, you need not worry as treatment is readily available and most people get cured within a couple of months. Even the symptoms are usually not severe and it is usually not fatal even in advanced stages of infection. However, the best thing you can do is to prevent the infection by covering yourself completely when you are out in open areas which are prone to Lyme infection. In this way, you can easily avoid the infection in your family. You should also be careful about your pets as they can catch the infection easily and bring the ticks to your home. When you notice any symptoms, approach your doctor and get timely treatment to cure the infection. In most cases, they do not cause severe complications and you need not worry about fatal complications due to this infection.
What you must know about Body ache
Affecting your entire body, body ache is usually an indicator of a condition that requires your attention for the pain to stop or a reaction of your body's immune system to an infection. Understanding the symptoms and the cause of the pain is the first step towards getting the right treatment for your problem.
The causes of Body ache can be any one of these:
What can you do to manage it?
There are simple ways that you can employ to relieve your body aches based on the root cause and these are:
In case, you do not get relief from any of the suggested ways, you need to consult a doctor who will guide you on the right treatment course.
Facial paralysis can happen due to many factors. Sometimes inflammation develops around the facial nerve as it passes through the skull from the brain. This presses on the nerve and makes it stop functioning. As the nerve stops functioning, so does the muscle it controls.
This is what happens in Bell’s palsy, the most common cause of facial paralysis.
Bell's palsy is a common cause of a facial paralysis but there are many others too that affect or damage facial nerve. These include head injury, sarcoidosis, lyme disease, growths in the ear, tumours in the parotid gland, brain tumors and stroke.
The weakness of the face usually one-sided is a symptom of Bell’s palsy. The face may droop to one side, chewing food is also tough, drooling, dry eyes and difficulty wrinkling forehead and speech are other symptoms of Bell’s palsy, the most common reason for facial paralysis.
The type of therapy you receive for facial paralysis will depend on its cause. It will also develop on how long you’ve suffered from facial paralysis and the extent of damage to the facial nerve.
Your physiotherapist can help and so can speech and language therapists to deal with the issue.
In physiotherapy, a treatment called 'facial retraining' with facial exercises helps with facial palsy. It is important that you seek help from a therapist who specialises in facial rehabilitation only.
This is what you can expect from facial rehabilitation therapy-
Exercises for eye care
Exercises for dry mouth management
Exercises to make drinking and eating easier
Your physiotherapist will educate you on how the facial nerve works and how it recovers. This is important to make you recover. A home therapy programme plays an important role too. It includes massages to keep face muscles mobile and healthy, stretches to lengthen muscles, exercises to help re-learn balanced facial movements and relaxation of your facial nerve and muscles.
The physiotherapist will work on your facial movement to make muscles fit. The basic idea is to slowly rewire the brain-to-nerve-to-muscle pathway. The physiotherapist’s first step is to retrain you to do correct movements voluntarily, while mentally focusing on the movement.
Physiotherapy may take months but keep at it to recover completely, especially the home exercises.
Remember that exercises should be done gently as well as daily to reap benefits. Always do these exercises with the help of a therapist only. Doing exercises by yourself can be counter- productive.