Top 10 Lyme disease blogs for 2023!

Below are the most popular Lyme disease blogs for 2023! Readers were interested in a range of topics, everything from how to kill a tick on your clothes to the duration of time it takes to get Lyme disease to the various presentations of a Lyme rash. Please click on the headline to view the full blog post.

1)  What does a Lyme flare up feel like?

When a Lyme disease flare occurs, patients will notice a return of the symptoms they have experienced before or a worsening of existing symptoms. Some patients may also develop new symptoms. A flare-up can come and go and vary in intensity. What does a Lyme flare-up feel like? The symptoms of a flare-up can include:  an increase in fatigue; problems with memory and concentration, sometimes referred to as ‘brain fog’; extreme sensitivity to bright lights, heat, cold, and noise; muscle stiffness; mood changes (including irritability); poor quality sleep; dizziness; numbness or tingling in hands and feet; widespread muscle pain; blurred vision; general body pain.

2) What does a Lyme disease rash look like?

Many people assume that a Bull’s-eye or erythema migrans (EM) rash is a common manifestation of Lyme disease. And that the lack of a rash confirms a person does not have the disease. This is far from the truth. The EM rash can be absent in at least 50% of Lyme disease cases. In fact, a survey of 3,000 patients with chronic Lyme disease found that only 40% reported a rash of any kind. Additionally, if present, an EM rash does not always appear as a classic target lesion with a central clearing, according to new study findings.

The authors found “only 20% of patients with an EM [rash] in the United States present with lesions that have the central clearing of a classic target lesion (“ring-within-a-ring” or “bull’s eye”). Instead, “the majority of EM lesions appear uniformly red or bluish-red in color and lack central clearing.”

3) Babesia and Lyme – It’s worse than you think

Babesia can lead to serious illness. Patients have presented with atrial fibrillation, noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, and anemia. In New York, between 1982 and 1991, 7 people with Babesia died, while another patient on Nantucket Island developed pancarditis and died. Babesia can increase the severity of Lyme disease. It can also increase the duration of illness with Lyme disease.

Babesia can be difficult to diagnose. Nearly all patients with Babesia reported sweats. However, if the patient was coinfected with Lyme disease, the incidence of sweats dropped to 42%.

4) Lyme disease skin rash puzzles doctors, leads to misdiagnoses

Lyme disease can cause an atypical skin rash that may be mistakenly attributed to another illness, as this case report demonstrates. In their article, Suzuki and colleagues describe a 43-year-old woman who developed a rash which puzzled doctors and led to several misdiagnoses before Lyme disease was correctly identified.

The woman developed pink papules behind her right knee.  Over the next several days, the rash “evolved into painless vesicles with surrounding faint erythema.” She also developed fever, chills, neck pain and malaise. She was initially diagnosed with shingles.

“The atypical appearance of skin rash might confuse physicians with many differential diagnoses, such as spider bite, herpes zoster, bullous cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, and so on.”

5) How to kill a tick on your clothes

The CDC had long insisted that it took at least one hour on high heat in a dryer to successfully kill ticks. But their recommendation was only based on one published study. An aspiring young scientist, Jackie Flynn, reported that her informal study found ticks were killed after 5 minutes in the dryer, not one hour. Another more recent study found that it only takes 6 minutes to kill a tick in the dryer.

The study also found, it was more difficult to kill nymphal and adult ticks at lower temperatures. Nelson reported that half (50%) of the ticks survived hot water washes when the water temperature was less than 54°C (130°F).

Additionally, if a tick survives a wash cycle it’s still possible to kill them in the dryer. But, the temperature must be even higher.

6) How long does it take to get Lyme disease?

“How long does it take to get Lyme disease?” According to study findings, the probability of an individual becoming infected with Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), the pathogen which causes Lyme disease, increases the longer the tick is attached.

Researchers found the risk increases:

  • Approximately 10% after a tick has been attached for 48 hours;
  • 50% after 63 – 67 hours;
  • 70% by 72 hours;
  • 90% for a complete feed

7) Can Lyme disease stay with you forever?

All too often, physicians assume that Lyme disease is easy to diagnose and treat. But for those clinicians treating tick-borne illnesses on a regular basis, Lyme disease is clearly a complex illness that is frequently misdiagnosed and challenging to treat with some patients experiencing chronic, long-lasting symptoms. A growing number of case studies continue to document patients with chronic illnesses associated with Lyme disease. These include: Chronic neurologic Lyme disease, Neuropsychiatric Lyme disease, Lyme encephalopathy and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).

In the New England Journal of Medicine, Logigian and colleagues described patients with chronic neurologic Lyme disease who had been ill for years. [1] Their symptoms included fatigue, poor sleep, cognitive impairment, irritability, headaches, lightheadedness, and joint pain. Some of the patients improved with antibiotic treatment but symptoms eventually reoccurred. Others failed treatment. The authors expressed concern that treatment may not have eradicated the infection.

8) Lyme disease misdiagnosed as shingles in a 62-year-old man

A 62-year-old man from Norway was initially diagnosed with shingles. The patient was admitted to the emergency department complaining of epigastric pain that had been ongoing for 4 to 5 weeks. Despite treatment, he remained ill. His pain, which began with a rash in the man’s right upper quadrant area, increased and “he developed additional symptoms including nausea, lethargy, decreased appetite, constipation, decreased size and force of the urinary stream, and a 5–7 kg weight loss.”

The man’s symptoms, except for fatigue, resolved completely after he was correctly diagnosed with Lyme disease and treated with a 3-week course of IV ceftriaxone.

9) Steroid use can lead to long-term treatment failure for Lyme disease patients

Several studies have documented the consequences steroids pose to patients with Lyme disease. Most recently, researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School published a retrospective study which described an “association between corticosteroid use in acute LDFP [Lyme disease-associated facial palsy] and worse long-term facial function outcomes.”

One study reports, “An association of steroid use with an increased failure rate or worsening of disease is understandable in view of the well-known effects of these agents on the inflammatory and immune responses.”

10) Herxheimer reaction in a 13-year-old boy with Lyme disease

In a recently published paper, Nykytyuk and colleagues describe the case of a 13-year-old boy with Lyme arthritis, a common manifestation of Lyme disease, who developed a Herxheimer reaction when treated with doxycycline. “A 13-year-old boy was admitted to the regional hospital with complaints of left knee swelling, hip, ankle and cervical spine pain,” the authors write. The first signs of left knee arthritis began 6 months prior to his hospitalization.

The doctors assumed the boy suffered from post-traumatic arthritis and prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which were only minimally effective. Six months later, a rheumatologist diagnosed Lyme disease, in part, due to a reported tick bite which occurred 3 months before the onset of the left knee arthritis.

1 Reply to "Top 10 Lyme disease blogs for 2023!"

  • Christian
    01/08/2024 (10:23 am)

    Thanks for all your wonderful blog postings which I have enjoyed very much over years. Thanks also for your amazing guidelines document. It’s a light in the darkness.

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