A tick bullseye rash can signal Lyme disease. But not always. Here’s what you need to know.
Lyme Disease Diagnosis Is Complicated
In previous years, the CDC estimated that 30,000-40,000 people got Lyme disease each year in the United States. Recently, the CDC reassessed this estimate and determined that the actual caseload could be 10 times higher than reported. The new estimate: approximately 476,000 people get Lyme disease each year in the United States.
The official count, driven by lab tests, underplays the public health problem. The testing process—which measures an immune response against the Lyme-causing bacteria—has limitations as well. It misses patients who don’t have an immune response reaction. Those who show symptoms associated with a later stage—neurological issues, arthritis—can face inaccurate results.
Lyme disease diagnosis is complicated for many reasons. For one thing, many symptoms of Lyme disease are often found in other conditions. For another, Lyme isn’t always caught early. Antibiotics don’t always work. Some people who have unexplained signs and symptoms of chronic disease might have Lyme disease even if it hasn’t been diagnosed.
For example, some people don’t get a tick bullseye rash at all, let alone right away. (A tick bullseye rash, or erythema migrans rash, occurs in only about 75% of people bitten by an infected tick, and it can take seven days on average for that rash to become visible.) In addition, people with a rash might not test positive during the early stages of Lyme disease.
The process can be complicated, frustrating, and costly.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Whether you have a tick bullseye rash or not, you should look out for common symptoms of Lyme disease, including fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis. If left untreated, you could experience neurological issues as early as three days after being bit. Alternatively, your Lyme symptoms could start weeks or even months later.
These more severe Lyme symptoms can include:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional rashes on other areas of your body
- Intermittent pain in nerves, tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat (Lyme carditis)
- Dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- Shooting pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
- Brain fog and short-term memory problems
If you think you may have a tick bullseye rash or any Lyme symptoms, get medical help. A doctor can run the ELISA test to detect antibodies against the bacteria and confirm with a Western Blot test to give a diagnosis.
Tick Bullseye Rash and Lyme Disease Testing
When you have a tick bullseye rash, you’ll probably want to get lab tests to identify antibodies to the bacteria, which can help confirm or rule out a Lyme disease diagnosis. These tests are most reliable a few weeks after an infection. By then, your body has had time to develop antibodies. The two main tests are ELISA and Western blot:
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test is used most often to detect Lyme. ELISA detects antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, but it can provide false-positive results.
- Western blot test may be used to confirm a positive ELISA diagnosis. In this two-step approach, the Western blot detects antibodies to several proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi.
Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. Recovery is usually faster and more complete the sooner treatment begins. Standard treatment for early-stage Lyme is 14-21 days of oral antibiotics such as doxycycline (for adults and children older than 8) or amoxicillin or cefuroxime (for adults, younger children, and pregnant or breast-feeding women).
If the disease involves the central nervous system, as part of your Lyme disease diagnosis your doctor might recommend an intravenous antibiotic for 14-28 days. Intravenous Lyme disease treatment often eliminates infection, but it may take you some time to recover from your symptoms. These antibiotics can cause such side effects as a lower white blood cell count, mild to severe diarrhea, or colonization or infection with other antibiotic-resistant organisms unrelated to Lyme.
Lyme Disease Support
Our company owner, Michael Van der Linden, got a tick bite and suffered from Lyme disease for almost four years. After giving up on high-powered antibiotics, he found a different path. He drank three cups of Phyllanthus niruri tea a day. Within 90 days of drinking Phyllanthus niruri tea, he was Lyme free. While his personal story proves nothing scientifically, his personal story combined with his desire to help others is the reason he started Linden Botanicals in the first place.
Phyllanthus niruri has been used around the world for thousands of years to address kidney stones and a variety of chronic illnesses. Its antiviral, antibacterial, anti-plasmoidal qualities can help to attack the spirochete that causes syphilis. It has 100+ bioactive compounds. It’s not a hammer that pounds pathogens. Instead, it offers fantastic support to the body’s immune system. That’s why Phyllanthus niruri makes a wonderful support for Lyme disease treatment.
It is thought that Phyllanthus niruri blocks the spirochete from replicating and that it interferes with the outer surface proteins (OSPs) that are integral to the ability of Borrelia burgdorferi to evade the immune system. We believe that Phyllanthus niruri is the world’s best synergistic adaptogen and that it offers more health benefits than any other plant. For example, Panax Ginseng, the most famous adaptogen, contains 28 types of saponins, whereas Phyllanthus niruri contains 168 different active compounds. That’s 6 times as many.
Whether or Not You Have a Tick Bullseye Rash, Consider Drinking Phyllanthus niruri Tea
If you’re concerned about a tick bite or if you have a tick bullseye rash, we recommend that you consider drinking Phyllanthus niruri tea. First, arm yourself with the facts:
- Learn 5 ways to prevent Lyme disease.
- Identify Lyme symptoms and get Lyme support.
- Learn about Borrelia burgdorferi and Lyme disease.
- Recognize the 5 Lyme disease myths.
- Learn how Phyllanthus niruri may help fight Lyme.
- Learn about Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and Phyllanthus niruri.
- Identify 5 ways to find a trusted source for Phyllanthus niruri.
- Read our free Lessons from the Darkness e-book: insights from Linden Botanicals owner Michael Van der Linden, who suffered from Lyme for almost 4 years.
To learn more, another good place to start is with the Phyllanthus niruri FAQ.