Lyme Disease

*Practice update COVID-19 as of 4/28/2020

 

 

Dear Patient, 

 

I hope that you and your family are staying healthy in these trying times.  I have been closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 in our community and across the country.  I am encouraged by the decline in new cases in our community and I am comfortable cautiously reopening our practice as of Friday, May 1st.  In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, I have implemented safety measures following the guidelines of the American Academy of Dermatology. 

Prior to a scheduled appointment, a Sun Valley Skin Center staff member will contact the patient and ask if they, or someone they have been in close contact with, are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.  A patient who is experiencing these symptoms will be asked to reschedule their appointment until the symptoms have resolved.  Patients will be asked to wear a mask when they enter the practice.  If a patient does not have a mask, we will request that they call the practice from the parking lot and a staff member will bring a mask to the patient.  Once patients enter the building, a staff member will immediately escort them into an exam room that has had all surfaces sterilized.  All Sun Valley Skin Center staff members will be wearing gloves and masks at all times.  Visits that can be rendered via telemedicine will continue to be conducted over our telemedicine platform for at least the month of May in an effort to reduce the amount of people in the office. 

I sincerely appreciate your participation in these efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.  I ask that patients not bring children, friends or loved ones to their appointment.  I have been impressed with our community’s response to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  I think that it is important that we all remain vigilant and continue to adhere to public health guidelines to further reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

I thank you for the support of our practice and look forward to seeing you in the practice or virtually through telemedicine. 

Stay safe.  Stay healthy.

 

Sincerely,

Lindie Borton, MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyme disease is a bacterial illness and inflammatory disease that spreads through tick bites. Deer ticks house the spirochete bacterium (Borellia burgdorferi) in their stomachs. When one of these ticks bites the human skin, it may pass the bacteria into the body. These ticks tend to be attracted to creases in the body, so Lyme disease most often appears in armpits, the nape of the neck or the back of knees. It can cause abnormalities in the skin, heart, joints and nervous system.

Lyme disease was first identified in 1975 in Old Lyme, Connecticut. More than 150,000 cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control since 1982. Cases have been reported from every state, although it is more commonly seen in the Northeast, Upper Midwest and Pacific Coast. Lyme disease has also been reported in European and Asian countries.

There are three phases to the disease:

Early Localized Phase. During this initial phase, the skin around the bite develops an expanding ring of redness. The ring may have a bull's eye appearance with a bright red outer ring surrounding clear skin in the center. Most people don't remember being bitten by a tick. More than one in four patients never gets a rash. The skin redness may be accompanied by fatigue, chills, muscle and joint stiffness, swollen lymph nodes and/or headaches.

Early Disseminated Phase. Weeks to months after the rash disappears, the bacteria spread throughout the body, impacting the joints, heart and nervous system. Symptoms include migrating pain in the joints, neck ache, tingling or numbing of the extremities, enlarged lymph glands, sore throat, abnormal pulse, fever, changes in vision or fatigue.

Late Dissemination Phase. Late in the dissemination of the disease, patients may experience an inflammation of the heart, which can lead to heart failure. Nervous system issues develop, such as paralysis of facial muscles (Bell's Palsy) and diseases of the peripheral nerves (peripheral neuropathy). It is also common for arthritis and inflammation of the joints to appear, which cause swelling, stiffness and pain.

Lyme disease is diagnosed through a combination of a visual examination and a blood test for Lyme bacteria antibodies. Most cases of Lyme disease are curable using antibiotics, but the longer the delay, the more difficult it is to treat. Your dermatologist may prescribe medications to help alleviate joint stiffening.

The best form of prevention is to avoid tick bites. Use insect repellent containing DEET. Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Tuck the sleeves into gloves and pants into socks to keep your skin covered. After a hike, check the skin and look for any tick bites, especially on children. If you do find a tick, don't panic. Use tweezers to disengage the tick from the skin. Grab the tick by the head or mouthparts as close as possible to where the bite has entered the skin. Pull firmly and steadily away from the skin until the tick disengages. Clean the bite wound with disinfectant and monitor the bite mark for other symptoms. You can place the tick in a jar or plastic bag and take it to your dermatologist for examination.