Lyme Disease

Here is what I have learned about Lyme Disease so far. The bright red (“erythema migrans“) lesion I had was the site of the bite. I assumed I had just been bitten, but it could have occurred 3-30 days before that, probably while fishing in the northeast US, the classic area for Lyme Disease. It is not itchy or painful. Sometimes it will clear in the middle, becoming a target lesion, but not always. Not everyone gets the red lesion. Once the tick has fed, it drops off, so I never saw a tick.

The bacteria that do the damage are Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii in the US

You can get Lyme Disease again if bitten by another infected tick.

The test: A simple blood test, results within a day.

Treatment is relatively simple with antibiotics. Three weeks of Doxycycline.

Early symptoms: rash, Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, neck stiffness and swollen lymph nodes, none of which I had, or thought I had. I’m 72.

Later symptoms from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20374651

  • Erythema migrans. The rash may appear on other areas of your body.
  • Joint pain. Bouts of severe joint pain and swelling are especially likely to affect your knees, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.
  • Neurological problems. Weeks, months or even years after infection, you might develop inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell’s palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement.
  • Several weeks after infection, some people develop:
    • Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat
    • Eye inflammation
    • Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
    • Severe fatigue

The first symptom I had was very weird: (The red bite was on my right leg and lasted three weeks and was gone by the first symptom) I woke up at night with severe right leg pain. I had just done an 8-hour difficult hike up Gross Morne Mountain, and wrote off this pain as normal. There was no pain during the day. I could hike without pain. Then I couldn’t sleep at night due to the pain. It wasn’t a muscle and it wasn’t sciatica. Nothing I took alleviated the pain. It went away as quickly as it arrived in 2 weeks.

Second symptom: Severe left jaw joint pain, popping, clicking, difficulty opening and chewing. I thought I had that for life, but it disappeared in 2 weeks.

Third: Low grade headache and kept taking Emergen-C thinking I was catching a cold.

Fourth: Neck pain, left side (5/10). I was carrying a camera with a shoulder strap everywhere I went, so switched sides or didn’t carry it.

Fifth: joint pain in left ring finger: pain 5/10

Sixth: Mild chest pain riding bikes one day

Prevention: I have two pair of Bug Pants from https://www.bugshirt.com. Lots of people make them now. I stupidly didn’t take them on this trip. They look weird only because they have a foot strap so it tucks into your shoes or socks. However they are very comfortable and they work. The pants and Bug Shirt were developed for people canoeing in northern lakes and rivers to keep mosquitoes and flies off.

  9 comments for “Lyme Disease

  1. pgevergreen
    September 19, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Excellent review, should be forwarded to anyone who spends time out doors. Jake just took a tick off Payton, 4 year old doodle dog, yesterday. We’ve seen those little bastards on walks to the beach. Many more on walks inland. They obviously take some monthly meds to avoid complications. Can people do the same?

    After your excellent summation of symptoms I’m wondering if some of my acute onset TMD patients may be suffering Lyme disease. Thank you for the information. Post it everywhere. Be safe, and where the goofy paints. Martha loves you for who you are.

    • September 19, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Great suggestion PG. I will put it up on Facebook and wear those goofy pants 😀 That’s a great question about humans taking flea and tick medication. Apparently there was LYMErix developed for humans, but there were severe side effects, so it was pulled from the market. Our pets have a shorter lifespan, so one post suggested humans have more time to accumulate harm. I suppose three weeks of antibiotics is less harmful than a preventative. HOWEVER, as I learned, the disease is not so easily recognized.

  2. Jane-Ashley
    September 19, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    I thought this was it! I had been trying to get a Lyme titer myself. I can’t get through to my GP who is undoubtedly overworked and understaffed.

    • September 19, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      It’s crazy stuff Jane-Ashley. If you have any doubt at all, run the test. A friend just made me aware of another similar tick-borne disease, Anaplasmosis, with similar symptoms as Lyme. I think it is a different test. Check https://www.aldf.com/anaplasmosis/

  3. C K
    September 19, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    not what I was dying to learn…….

    • September 19, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      Don’t worry. Your red wine consumption sterilizes the system from such bugs.

  4. LeRoy Bruton
    September 19, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    I don’t mean to scare you but nothing I have ever heard about Lyme disease has been good. I am sure before this is over you will be an expert. So sorry this happened to you. Sounds like your heart issues may be related to Lymes.

    >

  5. biltil
    September 23, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks Greg. You need to stay out of the fricking jungles and just relax at home with your friends. problem solved. Hope you are doing well! Billy

    • September 24, 2019 at 3:15 am

      Ha, ha. I think I’ll do that for a while now. Hope we can get together soon.

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