More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported annually. It is much more common than people assume. Though it was first found in Lyme, Connecticut, it has been reported in all 50 states since then. Lyme can be very mild if caught early enough, and a majority of cases do not suffer from long-term symptoms. If you have been bit by a tick, visit AFC Urgent Care Paramus to get tested and treated for Lyme. Our physicians can help recommend the best treatment to ensure patients don’t suffer from their symptoms.
How is Lyme diagnosed?
At AFC Paramus, Lyme disease is tested through a two-step blood test. From there, the test can detect antibodies created to help fight off Lyme disease. While it takes a few weeks for these antibodies to appear, it is possible to still treat Lyme while it is in the early stages. Additionally, patients may also be given antibiotics if they had been bit within the last 72 hours. Patients will not start showing symptoms at this time, so they will likely only be prescribed if the tick was attached to the skin for at least 24 hours.
What are treatment options?
Treatment options of Lyme depend on what stage the Lyme has developed to. Symptoms within the early stages are the easiest to treat, and they can begin anywhere from 3 to 30 days after being bit. At this stage, your physician can prescribe a 10 to 20 day prescription of antibiotics. Some symptoms may linger, but overall, the Lyme should not return after this, and the symptoms will go away soon after.
If it does come back, or a patient waits too long to get treated, a 30-day antibiotic prescription will be prescribed. In more severe cases, an IV may be used instead of oral antibiotics, and other medications may be prescribed to help with the pain.
Some patients may suffer from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. In these cases, they may experience more severe symptoms. There is no treatment at this point, and medication may only be prescribed to help lessen the severity of symptoms. There is no information as to why some people suffer from post-treatment Lyme and others do not.
Symptoms of Lyme
Early symptoms of Lyme can occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after being bit. A tick should be attached for 24 to 72 hours for the disease to be transmitted to a person. Some ticks can be tiny, the size of a poppyseed, so they can be easy to miss. Common early symptoms of Lyme include:
- Fever with chills
- Muscle or joint pain
- Erythema migrans rash, which is a bulls-eye shaped rash that gets larger as more days pass and is not painful or itchy but may feel warm to the touch
For patients who have later symptoms of Lyme, their symptoms are more severe. These can occur within a few months of getting bit. Some symptoms include:
- Severe headache and neck stiffness
- Loss of muscle tone in one of both sides of the face
- Arthritis with severe joint pain
- Irregular muscle, joint, or tendon pain
- Nerve pain
- Episodes of dizziness