What is the right treatment for Lyme disease?
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Q:

What is the right treatment for Lyme disease?

A:

Quick Answer

The Mayo Clinic states that the standard treatment for Lyme disease is a course of oral antibiotics. Some patients with central nervous system involvement require intravenous antibiotics instead.

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According to the Mayo Clinic, doxycycline is the preferred antibiotic for treating Lyme disease. Amoxicillin and cefuroxime are alternate antibiotic options suitable for children under 8 and adults who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The standard length of treatment is 14 to 21 days, although some research shows that shorter courses of antibiotics may be as effective as longer ones.

Serious cases of Lyme disease with nervous system involvement are treated with a 14 to 28 day course of intravenous antibiotics. Possible side effects of intravenous antibiotic treatment include intestinal distress, a low white blood cell count and infection with antibiotic-resistant conditions. Some patients continue to have symptoms after their treatment is over. The Mayo Clinic notes this might be due to an autoimmune response, but research in this area is still inconclusive.

Lyme disease is spread by infected ticks. Early symptoms include an expanding rash and typical flu symptoms. Untreated Lyme disease sometimes spreads to other body systems, causing joint problems and nervous system complications. Rarely, Lyme disease leads to heart problems, eye inflammation and hepatitis. Early treatment is recommended to avoid complications.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Is Lyme disease contagious?

    A:

    According to MedicineNet, Lyme disease is not contagious from an infected individual to another person. Lyme disease is caused by a kind of bacterium referred to as spirochete. According to Mayo Clinic, this bacterium is predominantly carried by deer ticks; an infected deer tick must bite a person for transmission.

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  • Q:

    What are all of the different blood tests for Lyme disease?

    A:

    The positive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA, test and Western blot test indicate an infection by the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Blood tests confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease when the characteristic bullseye rash is absent, which occurs in approximately one-forth of infected patients, states WebMD.

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  • Q:

    What are the later stages of lyme disease?

    A:

    During late persistent Lyme disease, the latest stage of Lyme disease, the infection can cause damage to the nervous system, joints and brain, according to WebMD. The symptoms can worsen and include weakness, numbness in the extremities, heart problems, difficulty concentrating or memorizing, swelling, and arthritis, especially in the knees.

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  • Q:

    Can you see lyme disease in a blood test?

    A:

    A blood test cannot give a direct diagnosis of Lyme disease, but it can help confirm a diagnosis when other symptoms are present. According to the Centers for Disease Control, blood tests ordered are typically the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test and the Western blot test.

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