Just started treatment for Lyme but I have questions

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 8/7/2009 2:09 PM (GMT -7)   
I live in RI and last weekend I went to the beach and walked on the side of the road which is where I suspect I was bitten by a tick. I didn't notice any tick on my leg but a couple days later I developed a red bull's eye that kept growing. So the next day (Tuesday), I went to see a doctor who is a specialist on Lyme disease and he prescribed me 2 antibiotics (Doxy and Omnicef, each twice a day for 1 month). The rash is diminishing. I feel a little tired and have a headache but the doctor warned me about the symptoms I may experience. So here are my questions:
1. Does having the bull's eye automatically means that I did get Lyme disease?
2. Is it possible that I developped the rash just 1-2 days after being bitten? (I read the tick must stay on for more than 48 hours but I don't see how I wouldn't have noticed if a tick had been on the back of my leg for 48 hours)
3. On Tuesday (so possibly 3 days after bite), they also took some blood to send to the lab to test. How accurate will that test be?
4. Since I started the treatment almost immediately after noticing the bull's eye, what are my chances of eradicating the disease?
Thanks so much for your help!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 849
   Posted 8/7/2009 2:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, bullseye means Lyme. You are one of the "lucky" ones that got a bullseye, and knew to get treatment pronto.

No, the tick does not have to be on you for 48 hrs. Just another wonderful Lyme myth

BW in itself is pretty crummy, do not worry about what it will show

Chances are very good for you since you started treatment so quickly. Just do not think however after 30 days all is OK. I would like to think you will do 6-8 weeks of abx and re-evaluate after that.

I am not sure how you got into a LLMD so quickly. Are you sure he/she is well versed in treating Lyme and the co-infections that can come with it?

Welcome to the "unofficial" Lyme Club!
Co-Moderator Lyme Disease Forum
Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 8/8/2009 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, he knows about Lyme disease because he had it himself and there are a lot of cases in the region. I was lucky to have easy access to a specialist. I am supposed to do a follow up in one month and will probably continue the antibiotics for a little while.

If bull's eye means lyme, then why do a lab test?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 759
   Posted 8/8/2009 8:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Your prognosis is excellent. 30 days of antibiotics should eradicate this. Please take all the antibiotics prescribed and do not ever take doxy with milk or dairy.

Your lyme test may be negative as the test is for the antibodies. It takes a while for the antibodies to actually develop and show up.

Good luck. Glad you're posting here for info. Studies have shown 30 days kicks it to the curb. It's the 10 days that I got that failed.
Bit June 08.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4717
   Posted 8/8/2009 9:13 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi there. Welcome to the forum! 30 days of antibiotic treatment when having a bulls eye rash is not enough. The recommended time is usually 6 weeks at the least because the Lyme bacteria cycle every 3-4 weeks so you want to make sure they are killed off when they are up and moving. I would push for 2 extra weeks just to be on the safe side.

For more info, please read the topic at the top of the first page of this forum tittled "The Basics,
Newbies check this out". It will help you get started learning about lyme.

If you need any recommendations for LLMD's, let me know.
**You never know how STRONG you are....until being STRONG is the ONLY choice you have**

Co-Moderator Lyme Disease Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 9208
   Posted 8/9/2009 5:58 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi MelaB, 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.  It is good you got the rash and recognized it so you can get treated early in the infection.  If you have not done so, be sure to get photos of your rash.  It is important documentation.  Place something near it, like a coin or ruler, before photographing to give it size definition.  Document the date you saw the rash.  The rash alone merits treatment.  Most people test negative early in the infection.  Which test did you have done?  It is my understanding the ELISA or titer is the least reliable test and the one most doctors run first.

You can get a rash any time in an infection, and it is not always at the site of the bite.  Many people are bitten by ticks without knowing it.  They are tiny, they inject a numbing agent so you cannot feel them, and they often go in hard-to-see places.  Tick attachment time is irrelevant.  Some people are infected when a tick is attached for a very short time.

What doses of Ceftin and Doxy are you taking?  From what I understand, six weeks of the proper dose antibiotic is the minimum treatment time for an infection caught within two weeks of the bite.  The antiibotics 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, further treatment is warranted.  A longer infection needs longer treatment.  Early infections are the easiest to cure.  Please do everything possible to make sure you get the proper treatment now.  Getting the proper treatment early may reduce the chance of long-term complications.

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
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
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

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.  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. 

There are some important tips to know about taking Doxy.  Do not have any dairy, iron, or magnesium products within two hours of taking it 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 are on antibiotics, make sure you take high-quality acidophilus capsules.  They replace the good bacteria and prevent yeast overgrowth.  The best kind to get are refrigerated and have a high culture count.  Most health food stores have them.  Wait at least two hours after taking the antibiotics to take the acidophilus.

Be aware of the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (herx).  When people who have Lyme take antiibotics their symptoms can get worse or they can get new ones.  When the antibiotics kill the bacteria, toxins are released making them feel worse.  It can be scary when it happens, but it is a sign the antibiotics are working.  Although it can vary individually, many people experience this at the beginning or change of treatment and every three to four weeks.  During treatment, it is good to document your symptoms daily.  One way to do this is to list the main symptoms you have each day with a numerical rating of their severity from 1-10.  Over time when you review this, you can see when your herxes occur and how you are responding to the meds.

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 lllnesses  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 doses starting on page 18.   I also recommend the books "Everything You Need To Know about Lyme Disease Second Edition" by Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner and "The Lyme Disease Solution" by Kenneth B. Singleton M.D.

Good luck with your treatment! 

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