By Lucy Cooper

27th January 2020

Signs Of Lyme Disease: What To Look For

Signs of Lyme Disease might initially start externally, e.g. as a distinct rash, but as the disease progresses, internal symptoms may take over.

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Signs of Lyme Disease: The Signs And Symptoms

Signs of the tick borne disease are easy to spot when you know what they are- and there’s also a lot of them to look for. Beware though, as symptoms of other ailments tend to overlap with those of Lyme.

It’s largely regarded as a widely underreported and under-researched disease, affecting over half the counties in 43/50 of the United States; there are estimated to be 329,000 new cases a year.

Although largely found in America, there are of course cases across the world- with certain areas being most susceptible to the infectious tick.

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Celebs opening up about their struggles with Lyme are helping to open people’s eyes to the true debilitating nature of this disease. A misconception of the disease, as it’s not generally life-threatening, is that it can’t also be life- limiting.

Most recently Justin Bieber has revealed his two-year long battle with the disease, after being forced to deny a drug addiction thanks to the way Lyme has affected his appearance.

Bieber admitted to his skin falling victim to the disease, which although internally debilitating, is the most obvious symptom of his illness.

Image Source/Hello.co.uk

Famous supermodel, Bella Hadid, has also been transparent with her struggle, and the fact it leaves her bed-ridden and with no desire to partake in social activities:

“I was exhausted all the time. It affected my memory so I suddenly wouldn’t remember how to drive to Santa Monica from Malibu where I lived. I couldn’t ride. I was just too sick. And I had to sell my horse because I couldn’t take care of it”

It’s not just Bella who suffers with the disease in her family, her brother Anwar and Mum, Yolanda, are both affected.

Real Housewife star Yolanda was actually a large influence in shedding light on and bringing awareness to the invisible disease:

“This is such an invisible disability, where you look beautiful on the outside yet you’re dying on the inside.”

Image Source/ Mirror 

Supermodel Gigi Hadid talked about her personal struggles with Lyme, despite not having the disease, she has three family members who do:

“My mom couldn’t drive or get out of bed some days, so I took my brother to school with me, or I made lunch. But I also felt a lot of guilt for being the one person in the family who didn’t understand what they were going through. It’s hard when your whole family is in pain  and you don’t know what to do.”

The disease, spread by backlogged deer ticks, can be treated relatively successfully if caught and treated quickly. Treatment usually involves three weeks of an oral antibiotic, that tends to have a low relapse rate.

With Lyme’s symptoms mimicking those of other ailments, it can be hard to diagnose;  however, there are some tell-tale signs that blow its cover- the main culprit being the obvious, initial rash.

Within days of the bite, bacteria moves to the central nervous system, muscle joints, eyes and even the heart. An external giveaway, is the outbreaks of hives and a rash that the bacteria tends to cause.

There are actually three stages of the disease, but not everyone moves through all of them, as every body reacts differently to the bacteria.

The main list of symptoms to look out for include:

  • Rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Night sweats- difficulty sleeping
  • Cognitive decline

Image Source/ NHS

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Skin outbreaks
  • Heart problems
  • Mood changes
  • Unexplained pain
  • Swollen knee
  • Facial palsy

What To Do If You Have A Tick Bite

Firstly, don’t panic- not all ticks have the ability to carry the disease, so try not to be alarmed! Remove the tick with tweezers, pull straight out and don’t twist.

Image Source/ news.northeastern.edu

Then, place the tick in a container and wash skin surrounding the tick insertion. Make sure to save the tick for assessment by your doctor- they will confirm if it’s an infected tick (if it’s a black legged tick AKA a deer tick).

Signs of Lyme Disease: Diagnosis

Diagnosing Lyme’s disease can be done either by symptoms alone, if the patient has the initial Lyme’s rash. A Western Blot Test can also be carried out which although accurate, tends to miss about 20% of cases.

Treatment For Lyme Disease

Treatment of the disease, as earlier mentioned, involves a course of antibiotics, which for early localized Lyme’s is a 10-14 day course.

Medications used to treat the disease include doxycycline and amoxicillin, or cefuroxime for women who are nursing and breastfeeding. which are used to treat women who are nursing or breastfeeding

Intravenous antibiotics are also used for some forms of Lyme disease, including those with cardiac or central nervous system (CNS) involvement.

Lyme arthritis, a late-stage symptom of Lyme disease, is treated with oral antibiotics for 30 days.

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