Have I been infected with Lyme Disease? (picture)

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lovemuffin
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Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/13/2009 4:59 PM (GMT -6)   
So yesterday when I woke up, my arm was itching a lot. I didn't really see anything. I felt a small bump, like maybe a mosquito bite but it was itching all day long so I put anti-itch cream on, but it still itched a lot. Today my arm seemed swollen and hot to the touch. Just a half hour ago while I was shopping, I lifted my sleeve and noticed it resembled a bull's eye. Now I'm worried.

I live in Buffalo NY. I didn't even leave my house yesterday (Wednesday) and on Tuesday I drove to a town out in farmlands, but only to attend a school board meeting that was maybe 15 minutes long. I was wearing long sleeves. I don't live near any deep woods -- I live in a pretty typical suburban neighborhood. How could a tick have bitten me? Or could this be a reaction to a spider bite, too much scratching or irritation from too much anti-itch cream? (The cream says 4 times a day.... I used it four times this morning alone.) It hurts a little when I put pressure on it.

I feel no other symptoms, no fever. Should I go to the doctor anyway? I just read that Lyme Disease is curable in early stages and the main reason it gets bad is not going to the doctor. But I still worry. Any thoughts?

Pictures of my arm:
VIEW IMAGE
VIEW IMAGE

Post Edited (lovemuffin) : 8/13/2009 10:13:44 PM (GMT-6)


CajunGrl
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Date Joined Mar 2009
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   Posted 8/13/2009 5:05 PM (GMT -6)   
lovemuffin,

Welcome to the forum!

It looks very similiar to a Bulls Eye rash. Either way, I would go and have it checked out. It's pretty big and red.
**You never know how STRONG you are....until being STRONG is the ONLY choice you have**

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lovemuffin
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Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/13/2009 5:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I can wait until tomorrow, right? It doesn't spread that fast, does it?!

CajunGrl
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   Posted 8/13/2009 5:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hmmm, I don't think anyone here can make that decision for you. We don't know if it is indeed a bulls eye or not. If it is a spider bite, it could be more serious.

Do you have a walk-in clinic where you live?
**You never know how STRONG you are....until being STRONG is the ONLY choice you have**

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lovemuffin
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Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/13/2009 5:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I was laid off my so my health insurance isn't that great. I could pay $50 for an emergency room visit if this was truly an emergency. My pinky knuckle on the same arm is also itching like crazy and is now red and swollen from all my scratching. I wonder if having an allergic reaction to something. But I'd really like to know how much time one has from seeing the bull's eye rash to take antibiotics.

Post Edited (lovemuffin) : 8/13/2009 5:28:46 PM (GMT-6)


ticker
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Date Joined Feb 2003
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   Posted 8/13/2009 5:30 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi lovemuffin, welcome to the board!

Although only about 50% of people who have Lyme ever get a rash, a bulls-eye rash is a definite sign of Lyme disease.  To me your rash looks like a bulls-eye.  It is good you took photos of it.  Take more if it changes.  You may want to place something near it, like a coin or ruler, before photographing to give it size defiition.  The rash can appear anywhere on the body, not only where you are bitten and it can also appear anytime in an infection.

Here are a few sites where you can see photos of some Lyme rashes:

 
Ticks are just about everywhere. You do not have to be in the woods to be bitten.  You are correct that early infections are the easiest to cure.  Please do whatever is necessary to get the proper treatment as soon as possible.  Doing so may prevent the chance of long-term complications.  The rash alone merits teratment.  Most people test negative early in the infection.
 
This is likely more information than you need at this time, but it is still helpful.  Below is a Lyme symptom list.  You can have any combination of symptoms.
 
Unexplained fevers, sweats, chills, or flushing
Unexplained weight change--loss or gain
Fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina
Unexplained hair loss
Swollen glands
Sore throat
Testicular pain/pelvic pain
Unexplained menstrual irregularity
Unexplained milk production: breast pain
Irritable bladder or bladder dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction or loss of libido
Upset stomach
Change in bowel function-constipation, diarrhea
Chest pain or rib soreness
Shortness of breath, cough
Heart palpitations, pulse skips, heart block
Any history of a heart murmur or valve prolapse?
Joint pain or swelling
Stiffness of the joints, neck, or back
Muscle pain or cramps
Twitching of the face or other muscles
Headache
Neck creeks and cracks, neck stiffness, neck pain
Tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, shooting pains
Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
Eyes/Vision: double, blurry, increased floaters, light sensitivity
Ears/Hearing: buzzing, ringing, ear pain, sound sensitivity
lncreased motion sickness, vertigo, poor balance
Lightheadedness, wooziness
Tremor
Confusion, difficulty in thinking
Difficulty with concentration, reading
Forgetfulness, poor short term memory
Disorientation: getting lost, going to wrong places
Difficulty with speech or writing
Mood swings, irritability, depression
Disturbed sleep-too much, too little, early awakening
Exaggerated symptoms or worse hangover from alcohol

When Lyme disease is a possibility, it is very important to see a knowledgeable doctor.  Many doctors do not understand Lyme and treat with outdated protocols. No test is completely reliable, and results can vary by lab.  Lyme needs continuous, aggressive treatment.  It is my understanding that the ELISA or titer test is the least reliable and the one most doctors run first.

Besides Lyme, ticks can also transmit several co-infections including Babesiosis, two types of Ehrlichiosis (HME & HGE), Bartonella, and Mycoplasma.  Many people who have Lyme are co-infected.  It may affect treatment choice and progress.  It is important to be tested for these by a Lyme reputable lab such as IgeneX in Palo Alto, CA. 

If you need a doctor recommendation, you can email me at ko_@bellsouth.net 

It is also important to learn as much as possible.  I recommend reading Dr. Joseph Burrascano's 2008 Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines For Lyme and Other Tick Borne Illnesses at http://www.ilads.org/lyme_disease/B_guidelines_12_17_08.pdf  He is one of the top Lyme doctors in the country, and many Lyme doctors follow his protocols.  I also recommend the books "The Lyme Disease Solution" by Kenneth B. Singleton, MD and "Everything You Need To Know about Lyme Disease Second Edition" by Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner. 


lovemuffin
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/13/2009 9:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, if it goes away tomorrow or even the day after, would it be safe to assume it is not Lyme Disease? Because my doctor will have no tests to diagnose it, I understand, other than seeing my rash because the antibodies can take some time to spread throughout the body, so early infections won't blood test positive anyway. My understanding is that individuals who do get Lyme Disease will have their bull's eye rashes for a long time, correct? Please advise.

Post Edited (lovemuffin) : 8/13/2009 9:14:28 PM (GMT-6)


CajunGrl
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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4717
   Posted 8/13/2009 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Not neccessarily. The rash can disappear and come back again later on. If you do have a bulls eye rash, it means that you were infected. You need to start treatment as soon as possible. Don't play around with this. This disease can get very serious. The recommended does of antibiotics is around 400mg of Doxy for no less than 6 weeks. I hope you get this checked out soon!
**You never know how STRONG you are....until being STRONG is the ONLY choice you have**

Co-Moderator Lyme Disease Forum


lovemuffin
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/13/2009 10:07 PM (GMT -6)   
That's fine, but I don't want to take antibiotics needlessly and then have them not work when I actually do need them. If the rash is gone tomorrow, you wouldn't say that is most likely a pretty good indicator it was something else? I plan to go to the doctor as early as possible tomorrow if it's still here.

+Lyme
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1304
   Posted 8/13/2009 10:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Lovemuffin,

I am no lyme Dr, but in your photographs, it sure looks like a bull's eye on your arm. Even if it's not, you FOR SURE need to see a Dr tomorrow. Sooner, if you come down w/ a fever or other symptoms.
Bit 1972: Acute and chronic tonsillitis, UTI, miscarraige, appendicitis, hypoglycemia,  chronic neck pain w/ crushed vertibrae, chronic severe back pain, mitral valve prolapse, depression, resolution?
Bit Mother's Day 2007: Lyme, Babesia microti, hypothyroidism, EBV, HHV6, Parvovirus B19, low adrenals &misc other hormones, depression, anxiety, more of the above.
What don't these nasty bugs cause? 
CD57= 60, so we're in pretty good shape.
 


CajunGrl
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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4717
   Posted 8/13/2009 10:25 PM (GMT -6)   
That's why you need to get in to see a doctor. I'm not trying to say that "Yes, it's Lyme!! Get on antibiotics now!" I don't know that for sure. BUT, having a rash that big warrents a doctor looking at it. If you want to take a chance with whatever this is, then that is your choice. I just don't want to see you coming back in a few years from now, or less than that, sick like a dog. It's your choice:)
**You never know how STRONG you are....until being STRONG is the ONLY choice you have**

Co-Moderator Lyme Disease Forum


unwillinghostess
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 63
   Posted 8/13/2009 11:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I would most definately get it looked at and try to get on antibiotics quickly. If it is Lyme the sooner you attack it the better. It can spread quickly and symptoms don't usually start showing up until at least a few days after you were bitten. In MN if you go in with Lyme symptoms and tell them you pulled a tick off then they immediately put you on antibiotics and test you for a few co-infections.

RottenDog
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Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1013
   Posted 8/14/2009 1:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi lovemuffin, welcome to the board. lets just say i hope your visit is a short one. i agree with everyone else here. you need to not only see a DR. but take in your pics to show em as well. your lucky you have the rash, many do not have 1 and get very sick and have to fight with Drs to even get treatment.

i meet a lady who's son had lyme, and it was caught early. after 2 months of abx treatment he is totally lyme free. from all the reading on lyme i have read. its the only way you can cure lyme to date. and i pray daily this changes soon for everyone.
   RD
 
still looking for answers.
 
Remember that advice is free, its your choice what you do with it.  :)


lovemuffin
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/14/2009 2:58 PM (GMT -6)   
My doctor must've thought I was crying wolf and said she couldn't see me today and I should wait until my previously scheduled appointment for Monday. I went to a walk in clinic, although I am skeptical the people in a clinic like that are real doctors or good doctors. Anyway, the guy in the clinic didn't think it was Lyme because my rash was itchy and was fading away rather than spreading. He also didn't think ticks were common in New York state, which I have no clue about. I may ask for blood drawn Monday, although I doubt antibodies would be there yet.

My hand also blew up today at the site of some other bite I got, which I've previously mentioned in this thread. I'm not sure if this helps or clouds any diagnosis but he is a picture. This site is also hot to the touch. Pictures of my hand:
VIEW IMAGE
VIEW IMAGE I don't know if these do it justice but it's definitely puffy.

So the clinic guy gave me 20 capsules of Doxy, 100mg, which I think he said was 10 days. I still don't want to take it if I don't have anything -- I am a person who is constantly worried about my health and always fears the worst. I realize everyone on this board does have Lyme, so they take it very seriously, but I'm trying to be cautious both ways.

CajunGrl
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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4717
   Posted 8/14/2009 3:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Lovemuffin,

Yes, we are all very serious about this disease and catching it early because it can be devastating when it becomes chronic. I went from going back to college last year and feeling good to barely being able to make it off the couch. I have pain 24/7. It's not fun at all so that's why we are so serious about helping others.

I have no idea what is going on with your hand. Did the doctor see this too?

about the antibiotics....20 days of Doxy cannot hurt you. I know you are scared regarding resistance but there are so many antibiotics out there. You would have to either be on antibiotics long term or take them over and over again for it to "maybe" happen.

I hate even saying this but maybe just keep an eye on the rash and your symptoms. If you start feeling unwell, fatigued, brain fog, achyness....just an unwell feeling, go back in and make sure the doctor knows about that rash. I'm really worried about you.

Feel better soon:)

P.S. - You think taking benadryl might bring down the puffiness in your hand?
**You never know how STRONG you are....until being STRONG is the ONLY choice you have**

Co-Moderator Lyme Disease Forum


lovemuffin
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/14/2009 3:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah, 20 days of Doxy doesn't seem like it would help or hurt me that much. I'm going to get the script and mull it over. It's really unfortunate that there is no good way to test for the disease soon after infection.

For the sake of it, here are updated photos of my arm:
VIEW IMAGE
VIEW IMAGE

As you can see, the rash part is definitely going away, but the bumpy red middle is still there and is actually more red. I feel like it would probably last longer if it was really Lyme, but then again who knows. It hasn't been as itchy or warm either, meanwhile my hand is hot and I'd love to itch it but I know it would make it more swollen and red. You know, I think everyone would like to think they'd feel or notice a tick burrowed in their body and engorged, but obviously not, or no one would ever get Lyme.

Thank you all for the input and concern, it has helped me a great deal. :) I'm definitely washing all my sheets and bedding tonight. I still feel like I was bitten in my sleep.

Post Edited (lovemuffin) : 8/14/2009 4:04:40 PM (GMT-6)


CajunGrl
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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4717
   Posted 8/14/2009 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Good luck with everything hun. If ever you feel like you have more questions, please come back and visit us.
**You never know how STRONG you are....until being STRONG is the ONLY choice you have**

Co-Moderator Lyme Disease Forum


ticker
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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 9208
   Posted 8/14/2009 3:42 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi lovemuffin.  I cannot believe the doctor told you ticks are not common in NY.  New York has the highest number of Lyme cases in the United States.

Remember only about half of the people who have Lyme ever get a rash.  If you get the rash and recognize it you are very lucky because you can treat the infection early.  Lyme rashes can appear at any time in an infection, anywhere on the body, they can be any size, and they can disappear quickly or remain for some time.

People here give information to new members that they wish they would have had early in the infection.  Once the disease becomes disseminated, it is much more difficult to treat.

Regarding treatment, 200 mg of Doxy daily is not strong enough for Lyme.  The recommended dose for Lyme is 300-600 mg daily with 400 mg daily often prescribed.  Ten days of treatment is not long enough.  From what I understand, six weeks is the minimum treatment time for an infection diagnosed within two weeks of the bite.  The antibiotics kill the bacteria when they are reproducing which is estimated at four weeks.  Six weeks of treatment will cover one growth cycle.  If symptoms are still present, futher treatment is warranted.  A longer infection needs longer treatment.

There are some important tips to know about taking Doxy.  Do not have any dairy, iron, or magnesium products within two hours of taking the Doxy or it will not be absorbed properly.  If it makes you nauseous, eat something substantial and non-dairy before taking it.   Avoid the sun.  You can get a severe burn in minutes even when wearing sunscreen.  Do not lay down for at least an hour after taking it or you can ulcerate your esophagus.  This is very painful.  Drink a full glass of water when you take it for the same reason.  Whenever you take antibiotics, it is important to take high-quality acidophilus capsules.  They replace the good bacteria and help prevent yeast overgrowth.  The best ones to get are refrigerated and have a high-culture count. Most health food stores have them.

Good luck with your treatment!

Post Edited (ticker) : 8/14/2009 3:45:48 PM (GMT-6)


mcjane
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 8/14/2009 4:20 PM (GMT -6)   
lovemuffin:
You are getting expert advice on this board.

My son had Lyme, caught early and the bulls eye rash did not last more than a few days. Everyone reacts differently.

The tick that carries Lyme is usually a nymph...about the size of a period at the end of this sentence.

CajunGrl knows what she's talking about and Ticker is right NY ranks as the highest number of Lyme cases in the USA.

Lyme CAN have a way of starting as a rash, maybe a fever then going away for a time only to return with very bad consequences. It is a nasty disease that can turn your life into a living hell for years if not stopped early.
Doxycycline is the way to go to stop it if taken soon enough.

lovemuffin
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/14/2009 4:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Well what am I supposed to do if this isn't a strong enough prescription? Wait until Monday? Take it anyway and hope it doesn't turn into a superinfection?

lovemuffin
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/15/2009 12:17 AM (GMT -6)   
BTW, online I read that even a one-time dose of Doxy helps with early lyme disease. No where have I see 300-600mg recommend for only a rash and no other symptoms. They say 100mg, like this place: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010515/practice.html See this chart: http://www.aldf.com/raad.shtml

Now if my rash was caused by lyme, who knows when the tick actually bit me, but I think it is important to note that I have no other symptoms. My nose was very stuffy yesterday and the day before, but I have allergies and that does happen every now and again to the point where I keep nasal spray next to my bed. I'm clear today. I think I will take my 10-day Doxy and talk to my doctor on Monday. I will also look out for any strange symptoms.

Post Edited (lovemuffin) : 8/15/2009 12:33:33 AM (GMT-6)


RottenDog
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Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 1013
   Posted 8/15/2009 12:50 AM (GMT -6)   
lovemuffin,

i dont know where your getting your info from, but some of the memebers here have been dealing with lyme and Drs for many yrs. some have seen over 30 Drs even. as most do not know or understand lyme and what it can do to you. me i would love to of been in your shoes. and have the rash and knowlage available to me. i would not be so sick today. i would be able to walk and see as i could 2 yrs ago. lord i wish i could go back in time.

i am going to give you some links with some of the best info on lyme i have gotten. i hope they can help you to understand where we are coming from. and i pray you are able to keep the lyme at bay.

http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/index.html

http://www.ilads.org/

http://www.lymepolicywonk.com/

i hope this helps you and i am sorry you will have to copy and paste them. but after you read thro the links then ask if it worth the risk?

i do wish you the very best :)
   RD
 
still looking for answers.
 
Remember that advice is free, its your choice what you do with it.  :)


CajunGrl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4717
   Posted 8/15/2009 2:12 AM (GMT -6)   
lovemuffin,

I'm not sure what you're wanting from us. You came here for advice and we gave you plenty of it. Everytime we suggest something, you are negative about it. The IDSA was recently investigated about their so called "guidelines" and dosing. In fact, there was a meeting about it on July 30th. If you want to take a "one time dose", you go right ahead. It's YOUR body. But please don't fight us on what we know and have experienced first hand. We've all tried to help you and have given you all the information you need. I'm hoping you take our advice but we cannot MAKE you. In the end, it is your choice.

RD has given you alot of great links. You may want to read them.

P.S.- Please don't take me wrong. I am not trying to be mean in anyway. It just frustrates me that doctors are so uneducated about this disease and we, as patients, paying for their service wind up being mis-diagnosed or given the wrong dosage to kill off the bacteria. I know you don't want to take antibiotics unnecessarily and I understand that but if you truly knew what this disease could ultimately do to your body, you'd be gulping those pills down. Why don't you google some stories about Lyme Disease or watch some trailers on YouTube. Educate yourself. Knowledge is power!

Good luck with everything.
**You never know how STRONG you are....until being STRONG is the ONLY choice you have**

Co-Moderator Lyme Disease Forum


lovemuffin
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 8/15/2009 2:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Interesting. Well I did some googling and you're right. That organization was investigated for conflicting financial interests. I looked at ILADS recommendations instead, and they say 300-400mg of Doxy, but they don't explain if that is after a bite, after symptoms, etc. and a duration is unclear, they say. Well that pretty much leaves me feeling unsure of what to do again. I typoed earlier and my prescription is for 100mg of Doxy. Whether I do or don't have lyme, I definitely don't want to take so little that it only lessens Doxy's effect on me without helping, but I don't want to wait in case the infection is spreading. Sigh. I think my doctor is a jerk and I'm going to tell her Monday that if she won't see me when I tell her I am concerned about something, then I am getting a new doctor. This is BS.

Post Edited (lovemuffin) : 8/15/2009 2:40:47 AM (GMT-6)


ticker
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 9208
   Posted 8/15/2009 7:22 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi lovemuffin.  There is a lot of misinformation about treating tick-borne diseases.  A one-time dose of Doxy will not eradicate a Lyme disease infection.  Often when people are undertreated they are symptom free for some time, but the infection has not been eradicated.  When their symptoms get worse later on, the infection has been present for some time and it is much harder to treat.

Again, I recommend reading Dr. Joseph Burrascano's 2008 Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines For Lyme and Other Tick Borne Illnesses at http://www.ilads.org/lyme_disease/B_guidelines_12_17_08.pdf  He is one of the top Lyme doctors in the country, and many Lyme doctors follow his protocols.  He discusses antibiotics and dosages starting on page 18.  He discusses treatment length for early localized disease on page 19.

 

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