Lyme Disease

*Practice update COVID-19

Dear patient,

 

I want to start by thanking our patients for their loyalty to our small dermatology practice.  We want to assure all of our patients that our office is open and that we have instituted multiple measures to assure your health and safety.  

 

Over two weeks ago, we took extreme measures for disinfecting the exam rooms, the front office, and waiting room.   We have eliminated the sign in sheet at the front desk.   We are asking all of our patients and vendors to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer on entering and leaving the office.   Of course, we have stopped shaking hands and giving hugs.   All of our medical personnel are using disposable gloves when touching patients.   Thankfully, our practice is small, so patients are never closer than 6 feet from each other in the waiting room.

 

As a further effort to meet the needs of our patients, we will be implementing a telemedicine option for our patients.  We are working diligently to set up a HIPAA compliant platform for this type of service.  Unfortunately, not all dermatologic conditions can be treated via telemedicine.  If you think you might have a condition that could be treated via telemedicine and are interested in this service for a future appointment, please contact the practice at 208-287-5525 to be put on an interest list.

 

We thank you for your patronage of our practice and are confident that the resilience of our community will help us limit the impact of this global health crisis.  Your health and well-being is our utmost concern. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Lindie Borton, M.D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our team of professionals and staff believe that informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well-being. For your personal use, we have created an extensive patient library covering an array of educational topics, which can be found on the side of each page. Browse through these diagnoses and treatments to learn more about topics of interest to you.

As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.

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.