Lyme disease can be diagnosed solely by the "bullseye" rash
The Lyme disease can be diagnosed solely by the rash, it says in a new note for the NHS.
People with a bull's eye do not need a blood test and should be treated promptly to avoid complications, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Waiting for lab results is unnecessary and may result in patients being prescribed the antibiotics they need.
Lyme disease is spread by tick bites and can be debilitating.
A blood test can check this, but it can not produce a positive result until eight weeks after the patient has stung.
Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director of Health and Welfare at the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Care (NICE), said that for most people with Lyme disease, an antibiotic course would be an effective treatment, "it says Important We diagnose and treat people as soon as possible. "
"A person with Lyme disease can have a variety of symptoms, so we have clear advice on using laboratory tests for diagnosis and the most appropriate antibiotic treatments," she said.
"If there is a characteristic bull's-eye rash, health care professionals should feel confident in diagnosing Lyme disease."
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other illnesses and there is not always an obvious rash.
Symptoms can be:
- a high temperature or a hot feeling and shaking
- a headache
- Muscle and joint pain
- energy loss
However, if treatment is delayed, you may experience more severe symptoms months or years later, including:
- Pain and swelling in the joints
- Nervous problems – such as pain or numbness
- heart problems
- Loss of memory or concentration
- Ticks that can cause Lyme disease are found throughout the UK
- Threatened areas include grasslands and woodlands in southern England and the Scottish Highlands
- To reduce the risk of dentition, cover your skin, put the pants in your socks, use insect repellent and stick to the trails
- If bitten, remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers or a ticks removal tool found in pharmacies
- Clean the bite with an antiseptic or soap and water
- The risk of disease is low, as only a few ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease
- You do not have to do anything else if you do not feel well
- You should go to your family doctor if you have been bitten by a tick or visited an area where infected ticks are found and you have flu-like symptoms or a round red rash
- These symptoms include hot and shivering sensation, headache, soreness or nausea
Source: Choice of the NHS
More and more top-class people express their experiences with the problems of living with Lyme disease due to a late diagnosis.
The American model Bella Hadid has spoken of the challenges of working with the disease, as she is often exhausted and has to take medication on a regular basis. Her mother, who starred in The Real Housewives in Beverly Hills, and Bella's brother also have the disease.
Singer Avril Lavigne said it took months for her to be diagnosed with the condition she had been in bed for two years. She got the first symptoms on tour when she was aching, tired and could not get out of bed. She said she felt so bad at one point that she "accepted that I was dying".
Former English rugby player Matt Dawson got the disease after being bitten by a tick in a London park in 2015. As a result, a bacterial infection spread throughout his body and eventually had to undergo heart surgery.
John Caudwell, founder of Phones 4U, is funding a charity Caudwell LymeCo, which funds research he hopes will "lead to a truly reliable test and cure across the NHS for every patient with Lyme disease". He and 14 other members of his family have the disease.
Veronica Hughes, Caudwell LymeCo's Chief Executive, said she hopes the new NICE draft directive will increase the number of physicians who were confident they could diagnose an outbreak of Lyme borreliosis.
"Caudwell LymeCo Charity regularly hears from people whose doctors have diagnosed erythema migrans, but they decide to do a blood test without knowing that the rash is the more reliable of the two," she said.
"Waiting for blood test results always delays treatment, and if a patient has the rash, that delay is unnecessary and reduces the likelihood of complete healing."