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Lyme disease is an unpleasant condition spread by the bite of the deer tick, and without expert assessment, it can be hard to diagnose. Usha Sivakumar, MD, MBBS, is a highly experienced physician at SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care in Frederick, Maryland, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Call the clinic now if you’re concerned you have the infection or book an appointment online.
Lyme disease is an illness that you can catch from bacteria transmitted to your bloodstream by a tick bite. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease in North America are deer or black-legged ticks.
Ticks are small bloodsucking insects that live in grass or woodland and attach themselves to animals or people walking through the area. They start off looking much like a tiny spider, then swell as they feed on the host’s blood, dropping off when full.
Most tick bites don’t develop into Lyme disease, and if the tick is taken out in the first few days after biting you, the risk is even lower. If you do experience symptoms of Lyme disease following a tick bite, it’s best to visit Dr. Sivakumar at SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care for a checkup.
You may not feel it when a tick bites you, but whether you spot it and remove it or it drops off naturally, it can leave a lump similar to a mosquito bite that disappears after a few days. Seeing the mark shows you’ve had a tick bite, but doesn’t confirm you have Lyme disease.
If your tick bite is infected, it typically takes from three days to a month for the bulls-eye rash often seen in people who have Lyme disease to appear. This rash, called erythema migrans, isn’t normally itchy or painful but may feel warm and can expand outwards by up to a foot.
You may also experience:
If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can cause further symptoms. The bulls-eye rash can appear on other parts of the body, and you may have severe attacks of joint pain and swelling. You may also experience neurological symptoms such as:
These symptoms sometimes appear years after the original infection. Less frequently seen symptoms include irregular heartbeat, inflammation in the eyes, severe fatigue, and hepatitis.
Treatment for Lyme disease involves the use of antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection. The sooner you start treatment at SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care, the better your prognosis. Dr. Sivakumar prescribes a two to three-week course of oral antibiotics which should kill the infection, but if your nervous system becomes infected, you may need intravenous antibiotics too.
If you need advice on Lyme disease or have any symptoms of the condition, call SivIMed Internal Medicine and Primary Care today, or book an appointment online.