I'm wondering if it's possible to have more than one case of lyme disease during your lifetime. I had one when I was 16, and now 13 years later I have a strangely familiar bullseye rash. However, this has many different circumstances than my first time.
Yesterday I was backpacking in the mountains in Northern California, and I felt a painful bite or sting on the inside of my left leg. Some sort of reddish white welt appeared right away. It was painful for the next half hour or so. However I was so dirty I really couldn't get a good look at my leg until today, and now I see the rash. So I have a few questions. The first time, I never felt the bite or saw the tick. This time, I felt it, but I didn't see the bug that bit me. Also, the first time, the rash appeared 4-5 days after my vacation in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania--this bite happened yesterday and now the rash has appeared. Also, I was walking when it happened--can a deer tick stay on you while you're walking? This was a very short trip, I don't know if the tick would have had long enough to latch on and transmit the disease--I arrived in the mountains about 18 hours before the bite. Is that enough time to transmit the disease? Even if it was, I would think that I was only really bitten when I felt the pain. Is that enough time?
And most importantly, can someone get Lyme multiple times? If it's possible, can anyone recommend a good doctor in the Redding, CA area?
Another question--do bullseye rashes itch? I don't remember if my first one did, and this one does not.
ANOTHER longwinded question--for years, I have noticed that my original bite reappears somewhat when I exercise very hard or have some sort of allergic reaction. It doesn't appear in the original bullseye, but seems to occur like a strange type of itchy hive in the same location the original bite occurred. I would think that it was a mosquito bite except for the fact that this ITCHY rash disappears in less than an hour, and this has happened several times. So my question is, what is going on? Some strange coincidence or some remnant of lyme? I was treated with tetracycline for lyme (I don't remember for how long) and have had no ill effects, apart from a possible false-positive for antinuclear antibodies and scleroderma (could this be related)?
Yes, it is possible to be infected more than once. Having had Lyme disease does NOT protect you from being infected again. Furthermore there are over 250 strains of Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme organism) in the U.S. alone, and over 300 strains worldwide, so it is also possible to be infected with different strains.
Ticks can also carry a number of other diseases such as Bartonella, Babesiosis, Erlichiosis, Mycoplasma. Many people with Lyme are also infected with one or more of these co-infections.
The erythema migrans, or Lyme rash, may or may not itch. It may be very large, very small, or anywhere in between. There may be multiple rashes. It may take on the classic bullseye form, or it may not. It may look like a line or a bruise. It may be raised or not, it may feel hot and or/itchy, or it may not. It can be mistaken for a bruise especially in darker skinned people.
Someone here will know of the nearest competent Lyme doctor. In the meantime I would suggest contacting your nearest Lyme support group as they can be wonderful sources of support and information and they will have the "scoop" on resources nearest you. Good luck!
I went to a doctor that someone recommended as a good GP today, and I have many questions for all of you who are experienced with this disease. First, he didn't believe that I have lyme because my rash has a central red portion inside the ring and it should not. (Isn't that the hallmark of the bullseye?) He also said that we should wait six weeks or so and if I start to see any arthritis or joint pains I can get treated then and be fine. He also said that having had lyme before would help me fight it off this time (if I have lyme again) without the need for treatment. I was really not comfortable with that after having been treated immediately last time and seeing lyme devastate my uncle's heart (he has lost 90% of his heart function and is now on a pacemaker in his early 50's).
He was willing to treat me with Ceftin (I'm allergic to the cillin and mycin antibiotic groups) after I expressed my discomfort. But I'm worried that this doctor doesn't know what he is talking about. Is it wise to not treat someone because they have had it before, or wait six weeks for symptoms to show up? Also, doesn't the red center show up frequently? It certainly did the first time for me. However he is having blood tests done (Igg now and in 6 weeks) to determine if I had the disease in the past with the 1st test and now with the test 6 weeks from now.
Another thing that may be making him decide against lyme: my rash is fading fast and is nearly gone, only 48 hours after I first felt the bite. A public health nurse at the local health department (where I work) said that could be because my previous history with lyme (if I really had it, contrary to the doctor's opinion) could have mounted an immune response and made it present itself and disappear very quickly. Also, the rash is only about 2 inches across.
What do you experienced people think? I would greatly appreciate your advice.
If the rash is still visible, I STRONGLY suggest taking a picture, with something in the picture like a coin or a ruler to show the size.
The doctor you described is dangerously uninformed.
Regarding the erythema migrans, what he told you is a crock (by the way, it is possible to have Lyme disease and have NO rash at all). The longer you wait to begin treatment the further the infection spreads. That is what the erythema migrans is, it is the organism just beginning to disseminate. It is easier to treat if treatment is begun immediately after or no more than 2 weeks after the appearance of the rash but it becomes much more difficult the longer you wait.
Having had Lyme before does NOT help you fight it off. Furthermore, there are over 250 strains of Lyme disease in the US alone, and over 300 worldwide (yes, Borrelia burgdoreri has been found on every continent, there is a lot of Lyme disease in Europe, and it has been found in every state of the continental US) so it is even possible to become infected with a different strain. If anything, Lyme remaining in the body untreated can weaken the immune system, and actually make it harder to fight off a second infection. Ticks can also carry other disease such as Bartonella, Babesiosis, Erlichiosis, Mycoplasma, and a few others. Many people with Lyme also have one or more of thse co-infections, so it is important to test and treat for these.
I re-iterate my previous advice, contact your nearest Lyme support group, there are some in California. They are excellent sources of support and information. There is also an excellent book, 'Everything You Need To Know About Lyme Disease and Other Tick Borne Diseases' by Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner. It is extremely important to be informed, it can literally save your life.
I've had Lyme twice. The first time I awaoke with a fever of 103,brain swelling headache and throbbing legs.I was treated immediatly with Doxy for 10 days and got better.After starting the antibiotics,a mosquito like bit mark appeared on my stomach.Boy did it itch! It wasn't a bump though,like a mosquito bite,so it must be where the tick got me(I never saw it).
A few years later, I pulled a tick off of my arm(couldn't have been there very long as it was on my forearm,so don't beleive the 24 hr crap). Dr. gave me the usual 10 days of Doxy because I did have a red rash where it was. He called me 3 days later to say that the test was negative.I stopped taking the Doxy because I didn't want the sun sensitivity.I will regret that move as long as I live because a year later I had all the terrible symptoms of Lyme,and it took me another year to get treatment after chasing symptoms.Wish I knew then what I know now.
Thanks for the advice. Would it be worth seeing another doctor to try to get a "supplemental" prescription for antibiotics, since he only gave me Ceftin for 10 days (IDSA recommends 2-3 weeks for Ceftin/cefuroxime axetil here
Erythema migrans. Doxycycline (100 mg twice per day), amoxicillin (500 mg 3 times per day), or cefuroxime axetil (500 mg twice per day) for 14 days (range, 10–21 days for doxycycline and 14–21 days for amoxicillin or cefuroxime axetil) is recommended for the treatment of adult patients with early localized or early disseminated Lyme disease associated with erythema migrans,
Also he only ordered tests for Lyme disease. Should I be worried that he didn't order tests for any other diseases that Tinuviel mentioned?
From what I understand most docs believe since symptoms come back that they were infected yet again when the truth of the matter is the initial infection was never taken care of to begin with. Laymen's terms what I've learned, is that if any doc tells you 10 days of doxy or anything else will "cure" you, run----------as fast as you can to a lyme literate doc.
The only thing 10 days of doxy will do is make the bugs run and hide from the abx only to come out again when its feeding time. They hide in the spinal cord and then feed once a month for about a week. The only time you can kill the bugs is when they are "out" feeding. So, if you're taking the abx for only 10 days and it's not when they're out ----guess what?
One of the best lyme docs in the country has his patients taking 8-10 months of heavy-duty abx if they know they are initially bitten. The Q-rib test by Bowen Labs I believe got the go-ahead from both Medicaid and Medicare to be reimbursed which you can easily find out online as well and that from what I understand is also as good as Igenex.