Lyme disease is a bacterial condition brought about by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. It is defined by a reddened rash called as erythema migrans.
What are the signs?
Generally, the initial indication of Lyme disease is a red rash or erythema migrans. The rash starts as small, reddened spot that spreads over days or weeks, resulting to a circular, triangular or oval rash. It manifests as a reddened ring bordering a clear center that strikingly resembles a bull’s eye.
The rash varies in size from a dime or large enough to cover the back of the individual. In most cases, it arises within 1-4 weeks after a tick bite. As the infection spreads, several rashes might form at various sites on the body.
The rash can be accompanied by other symptoms such as headache, fever, body aches, stiff neck and fatigue that might last for a few days up to weeks.
What happens if it is left untreated?
If left untreated, most cases can end up with repeated episodes of painful and engorged joints that lasts for a few days up to months.
Lyme disease might also affect the nervous system and cause symptoms such as:
- Rigid neck and severe headache (meningitis)
- Pain, numbness or weakening of the limbs or diminished motor coordination
- Momentary paralysis of the facial muscles (Bell’s palsy)
In uncommon cases, Lyme disease can trigger eye inflammation, severe fatigue and hepatitis.
Management of Lyme disease
Almost all cases of Lyme disease are effectively treated with antibiotics. Generally, the earlier treatment is started once the infection has been detected, the quicker the recovery will be.
Antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline are taken orally for 2-4 weeks to allow the symptoms to settle as well as prevent subsequent symptoms such as arthritis or neurological issues.