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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Lyme Disease

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Treatment for Potential Lyme Disease [posted 10/28/98]
Question: I believe I have been invaded by a deer tick. What treatment ,if any , should I seek?

Answer: Immediate antibiotics.

Suggestions for Lyme Disease Infection [posted 10/23/98]
Question: My daughter was recently in Pennsylvania and two weeks after her return developed symptoms of Lyme disease minus the bulls eye rash. the blood tests come back marginally showing she is positive. Our biggest problem is that she has allergies to most antibiotics, ie: tetracycline, erythromycin, penicillin, amoxicillan, to name a few. As of yet, she hasn't been placed on any therapy because of concern of allergic reactions. Its been 3 weeks since her symptoms began. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: Get her treated as soon as possible. The floxin class of drugs may be an alternative. Also, it depends on the type of "allergy", that is whether it was intolerance or a true allergy. See an Internist or an ID specialist immediately.

Lyme Disease & Trimox Treatment [posted 10/21/98]
Question: Regarding trimox, please list any/all possibile side affects with this medication when used for lyme disease.

Answer: Trimox is amoxicillin and wouldn't have any specific problems with lyme.

Lyme Disease [posted 10/1/98]
Question: My husband developed a red, roundish/ovalish rash on his abdomen. First it was about 3 inches long, 2 inches high, solid dark pink. We tried using Lanocane, the rash got lighter but much larger, is now very faint, mostly a pinkish circle, a border with no center, about 4 inches high, 6 inches wide. The rash has been there for approximately 3-4 weeks. Could this be a symptom of lyme disease?

Answer: Sounds like classic lyme-to the doctor immediately. Delay in treatment can result in chronic symptoms from the lyme infection(if present).

Lyme Disease
Question: What are the first signs of Lyme disease?

Answer: Usually, a "target lesion", that is, an expanding circle where the edge is red or inflamed and the center fairly clear. Fever, chills, sore throat and "flu like" symptoms (headache, stiff neck, nonproductive cough) are more common that the "classic" finding. There is an incubation period ranging form 3-30 days. Cardiac and neurologic findings occur later in the disease in affected patients (15% or so) and muscle pain is common in this stage. A very late finding is the arthritis which occurs months later.

Lyme Disease
Question: I was bitten by a tick almost 3 weeks ago. A rash has developed where the bite occurred. The bite is red with a red circle around it. The skin between the bite and circle is covered with little red bumps. I had the Lyme Titters taken. The doctorÝs office said it would take two days for results. Meantime, I am not on an antibiotic. I hope to be tomorrow. I would like to know everything I can about Lyme Disease. I have read that even if caught early, it can still make its way to the brain and spinal column. I also read that when caught early there is only 15% chance that it won't get worse.

Answer: Most physicians would treat this scenario and wait for the titers later. By the time the titers return it may be too late to effectively treat the sequelae of Lyme disease. You need antibiotics today!

Lyme Disease
Question: I know someone who has previously been tested positive for Lyme Disease and has been symptom free until recently. She has chills, loss of appetite, and sore neck muscles. What available treatments are there? Most sources say there is no cure. Is there anything new that has been developed? What would be the best thing to do?

Answer: One of the difficulties of patients with Lyme Disease is knowing whether they are having a flare of the Lyme Disease or some other medical problems. Testing for Lyme Disease does not necessarily mean that a person will develop the side effects. I would ensure that these symptoms really represent a flare of the Lyme Disease and not a manifestation of another problem.

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