Lyme Disease: Symptoms and Treatment
by Jules Stark
Lyme disease is a tick-borne bacterial illness that can cause a variety of symptoms in both early and late stages. It is important to recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease; it becomes increasingly difficult to treat as the disease is allowed to progress.
Signs of early disease include the classic "bullseye" rash, usually appearing at the site of a tick bite. The rash is sometimes accompanied by flu-like symptoms--fever, fatigue, aches and pains, and chills.
Various other parts of the body may become affected if the disease is allowed to progress. Joint pains, neurological problems (including facial paralysis or Bell's palsy) and less common symptoms like fatigue are present in some late-stage patients.
Oral Antibiotic Treatment
Oral antibiotics are effectively used to treat early Lyme disease. Antibiotics like doxycycline and amoxicillin are usually prescribed for a course of 14 to 28 days.
Intravenous Antibiotic Treatment
For later stages of the disease, intravenous antibiotics are sometimes necessary. Treatment for 14 to 28 days is usually effective in eliminating the infection.
Long-term use of antibiotics may cause serious complications. Intravenous antibiotics can be especially dangerous; this type of therapy has been known to cause gallstones and diarrhea and decrease white blood cell count.