Lyme disease, or something else...

General or non-medical topics with information and discussion related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
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Lyme disease, or something else...

Post by rzaleski » Wed 11 Jun 2008 16:59

My family and I went camping two weeks ago at Lake Mead in Nevada. We
only stayed one night.

After our trip, we noticed that my son had a bunch of bug bites (as
did my wife and I). They looked like typical mosquito bites and we
thought nothing of it.

Two days ago, 4 of the bites seemed to get bigger (almost overnight).
The bite looked like it has a red circle around it. After researching
the bite online, it seemed to look like Lyme disease. The next day we
went to the doctor. When we saw the doctor, he immediately brought in
another doctor to get another opinion. They both thought it could be
Lyme disease, but were not sure. We were then taken to a
dermatologist who thought the same thing. They all thought it was odd
that he had 4 of these bites, no sign of any ticks attached and no
symptoms (he feels perfectly healthy). Their recommendation was to
watch it for the next two weeks and see if it goes away and if any
symptoms develop.

We were a bit uneasy with the diagnosis, so we got a second opinion.
The second doctor thought the same thing.

None of the doctors wanted to have him do a blood test since he was so
young (he is 6 years old) and because he doesn't have any other

We are still unsure about all of this. Are we just overreacting? If
it is not lyme disease, what else could it be? What would be the harm
if the doctor prescribed antibiotics and he didn't have anything wrong
with him?

I read somewhere that if you get a test for Lyme disease it won't
necessarily show up. Is this true?

Thanks for any insight and help.

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Re: Lyme disease, or something else...

Post by Claudia » Wed 11 Jun 2008 17:12

He should definitely get a photo of the lesions with ruler or coin next to them to have for documentation and proof of possible Lyme disease EMs. Unfortunately, they may be needed sometime down the road.

My personal, non-medical opinion is that if these were just allergic reactions to a spider, tick or some insect bite, they would have faded away within a few days. Since they appeared about a week and a half after returning home and seem to be lasting, I'd suspect EMs.

I would press for preventative antibiotics in this case for sure.

It takes time for the blood to build up antibodies, so this close to infection (camping trip) they are sure to get a false negative even if the child is indeed infected. As you explained Itsy, the obvious flu-like symptoms don't always happen even with an EM. They didn't in my son's case. BTW, his EM didn't spread, but lasted for over a month before fading.

My greatest regret is that he wasn't given any antibiotics when I brought him in with his bulls-eye. It took months for the first symptom to appear and it was neurologic and nobody put two and two together until four years later. The cost of his health and financial ruin to our family is the result.

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Re: Lyme disease, or something else...

Post by itsy » Wed 11 Jun 2008 17:28


Glad you came over!

You said you vacationed in nevada, but is that where you are located now?

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Re: Lyme disease, or something else...

Post by Cobwebby » Wed 11 Jun 2008 22:27

You seem to have several opinions that it is Lyme Disease. Unbelievable that no one offered antibioitcs.

It's true ,the titers for Lyme do not show up for several weeks-by which time it is much harder to treat-and you don't know how much it has disseminated.

Definitely get a picture(s).

In this neck of the woods, (Maryland), anybody with a tick bite is automatically treated for Lyme Disease-the sad part is-they are often not treated aggressively enough. Too low of a dose to do anything but cause the buggers to run for cover and hide.

And when it resurfaces no one seems to be able to recognize it for Lyme Disease. Maybe he doesn't have Lyme,but it is not worth the consequences of Chronic Lyme not to treat at this time.

From my perspective-there is no such thing as overreacting to the possibility of Lyme Disease.
The greater part of our happiness or misery
depends on our dispositions,
and not on our circumstances.
Martha Washington

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Re: Lyme disease, or something else...

Post by Claudia » Thu 12 Jun 2008 14:55


I read the information that was posted in response to you over at by 3rd Man.

Just a couple of things to think about:

While Nevada itself isn't an endemic state, you were at a Lake Mead, where increased humidity/moisture, vegetation, host animals and most importantly migratory birds passing through from more endemic areas and making a stop over at the lake can regularly "seed" the place with infected ticks and make it more statistically likely to have infected ticks than the other, drier areas of Nevada. So looking at Nevada's projected Lyme disease rate as a whole could be misleading and give a false sense of "statistical security" in this case.

For what it's worth, my son's pediatrician wanted to take a wait and see approach to my son's bulls-eye rash, see if it expanded or he developed flu-like symptoms within the next couple of weeks, then he'd treat. Neither happened, and I learned later that this was a very narrowly defined criteria to have to meet by the IDSA-CDC guidelines, leaving many infected people at risk of losing the window of an early diagnosis and successful treatment.

Besides the pediatrician told me, Lyme would be "easy to treat" if he did get diagnosed at some point later (so not true for many people). When I tried to press him that it was better 'safe than sorry,' he dismissively called me a mother with "Lyme hysteria." I figured he was the doctor and backed off.

This same pediatrician regularly prescribed antibiotics for sore throats and ear infections for both my children that may or may not have been bacterial in nature. So I guess needlessly prescribing antibiotics wasn't an earth shattering issue of harm in those circumstances. Can't follow the logic of why, when your son has suspicious rashes that several doctors who saw him agree could be Lyme, that it would be in his case.

Just my thoughts.

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Re: Lyme disease, or something else...

Post by rzaleski » Thu 12 Jun 2008 15:22

Thank you everyone for your advise. It was much appreciated.

My wife and I ended up taking my son back to the doctor. The doctor we saw yesterday still didn't think it was Lyme disease, but prescribed an antibiotic anyway.

We are going to keep an eye on him and get him tested after 6 weeks (doctor's advise).

Thanks again.

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Re: Lyme disease, or something else...

Post by Claudia » Thu 12 Jun 2008 15:42

I am really happy to read that! Your son is very lucky to have such concerned and caring parents that went the extra mile to get more information. Thanks for the update.

I hope that no Lyme board has to hear from you ever again!

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Re: Lyme disease, or something else...

Post by LymeEnigma » Thu 12 Jun 2008 19:45

Glad he's on an antibiotic ... the "sit and wait" approach is not the way to go about possible Lyme....

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