Lyme Disease Community
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168348 tn?1379360675

Lyme tick v spider bite rash ?

How can I tell if I was bitten by a Lyme tick or something else?  I will upload a pic of the rash later when not on mobile.  It appeared while flying on a plane Tues as a dime-sized hive or mosquito bite, rapidly turning bright, deep red and rash-like and no longer itches after 48hrs. Today is Sun & it's still there but not any larger.

I'm thinking spider? No pistule though. It's on the cheek of my butt (sorry TMI) where you sit.

34 Responses
Avatar universal
I'm sorry but there's no way someone here can tell you (even if you upload a pic) if that was a spider bite or a tick bite.

A rash caused by a tick is usually sort of like a bulls eye---- but NOT ALWAYS.

I sincerely hope it wasn't a tick bite----- but at this point probably the only thing you can do is to wait (for days/weeks or  months) and see if you develop any signs of illness---- like a  flu (that isn't the flu), or 'strange' symptoms. Keep us posted if you do develop symptoms.

Avatar universal
Given the downside of not treating Lyme as early as possible, I would take a cellphone foto of the rash (one each day, perhaps, to show how it's spreading, if it is), and get to a doc quickly -- like immediately.

I understand that Lyme can be stopped in its very early stages by use of a standard antibiotic like doxycycline, but the longer you wait, the more the bacteria spread through your system and become very difficult to eradicate.

The risks of taking doxy are, I think, fairly small if any, while the down side of NOT jumping on a possible Lyme infection are life-changing .... I wish I were being melodramatic by that statement, but I'm not.

Please do not wait.  Urgent care docs might work just fine for this, or even an ER if no friendly docs-in-a-box are available.  If the first doc won't play ball, I would go to another.  

If after treatment you are having symptoms, then go see a Lyme specialist, because the Lyme ticks often carry other diseases that may not respond to doxy.  We can give you more data on how to find a Lyme specialist if it comes to that.

Sorry to sound alarmist, but don't wait.  Waiting to see if you get worse is not a good game plan, because once the infection is established, it is extremely difficult to get rid of.  You do not want chronic Lyme disease.
Avatar universal

If you do follow the advice of the previous poster, would you please tell us what happened/what they said? We'd appreciate the follow-up. Thank you.
1763947 tn?1334058919
Jackie is so right. Hopefully you haven't been in an area where ticks are prevalent but if you were then taking doxycycline right away should get rid of the Lyme.

My ex husband was a golf course superintendent. He and his crew were surrounded by ticks daily. They learned if they ever were bitten to go to the company doctor ASAP to get the doxy and as far as I know he has remained Lyme free.
168348 tn?1379360675
Still on mobile but will try to upload pics to photos later or tomorrow    I do live in NorthEast & higher risk since I'm at horse stable often where my daughter rides + deer roam freely in my front yard (sigh) since hurricane sandy last year

Other oddity woke up 3 wks ago with severe knee stiffness & locking.  Had cortisone shot 2 weeks ago that helped and MRI is severe degenerative changes but no tears

One last oddity. Been on tons of potent antibiotics for unrelated UTI issues for months .. Now off for 10 days & wonder if was masking something

Will make appt to be looked at

Thanks everyone. Esp on a Sunday!

1763947 tn?1334058919
FYI, just a warning, if you do have Lyme, steroids can make you much sicker.
Avatar universal
I guess it's possible that you already had been infected by Lyme, given your environment, and the antibiotics were masking it---- that plus the cortisone.

Lyme can often cause knee 'arthritis' plus the bacteria that causes Lyme (Borrelia burgdorferi) has a liking for the bladder. Months is a long time for a 'normal' UTI but I don't know your history so........

Degenerative changes in the knee? That covers a lot of ground and I don't know what they were describing. Probably arthritis, which may or may not be just plain ol' arthritis and has nothing to do with Lyme. But........

If you ever have synovial fluid drawn from your knees----- let is try to help you get that tested (by a good lab) for the presence of Bb. Bb loves cartilage too.

And the Northeast is Ground Zero for Lyme. You 'should' be able to find a good llmd----- but be aware there are a lot who will also take your money with sham 'cures'.

The main thing--- if you do have Lyme the 'normal' dose is for 300-400 mg doxy per day (assuming you can take it) for as long as it takes for all symptoms to go away and then a few months more.

Keep us posted----- and keep talking. Your first post didn't offer all the little tidbits that are coming out now. LOL

Plus, looking at your profile---- I see you have many other medical concerns, unless you're looking into them for a friend. Those can muddy the  diagnostic waters.
1763947 tn?1334058919
In addition to Lyme you should be aware that a tick bite can come along with what is called co-infections. I have three. Others may only have one. Now that I am thinking about it, I don't know anyone with Lyme that doesn't have at least 1 co-infection. Those extra infections usually require different meds so things can get very complicated.
168348 tn?1379360675
My UTI's are related to kidney stones but that's a whole different arena being treated by a world known urologist. They've been cultured as other types of non-lyme bacterial organisms with passing stones, and hopefully gone. Yes, I have other medical conditions and possess too of knowledge as it pertains to GI issues my kids have had, etc as well as myself.  Thanks for the info!

168348 tn?1379360675
Avatar universal
Those pics came through nicely.

Here is just one gallery showing different rashes from LDF (one of the best sites for Lyme, but now defunct). There's one there that looks a lot like yours----maybe bigger?


Your rash and the pic shown on the above gallery, still is not the norm. But what's norm in Lyme? Nothing.

I'm more concerned about the fact that you live in a highly endemic area, have deer and their friends the white-footed mice.

Have you heard of gastroparesis as a symptom of Lyme?

Have you or your children ever been tested for Lyme---- by, and this is important, Igenex Lab in California?

Just noodlin' around to see what pops up. :)
168348 tn?1379360675

About 10 yrs ago I think a Rheumatologist used that specific lab in CA for two of my "then" young teens and they were negative.  My other daughter was tested by a local lab about 8 yrs ago and was negative with nothing to suspect otherwise.  Same for older one's in 20's now. Symptom free.

What is time frame to be tested?  Should I be retested if negative?  

I had blood work done about 6 weeks ago and everything was normal -- this was due to awful cramps in my leg calf (same side of body as rash) for no apparent reason at night.  Magnesium and Potassium levels normal, etc.  

I have doctor appt on Thursday.  And, will bring pics with me since it's beginning to fade.

I do wonder --- it's not grown at all, which I hope is a good sign but I guess there's not a rigid rule about this disease.

Thanks .. C~
Avatar universal
I never had a positive test, even from Igenex. Ever. But I was started on tx due to my exposure to ticks and some tick bites. Many people never know of a tick bite, esp. if it's from a nymphal tick.

I was given a spinal tap along the way (to prove that I had Lyme so my insurance would pay for IV)

I was 'lucky' because it was positive. A PCR of spinal fluid and blood have about a 50-50 chance of being neg or pos.  A positive is a positive! Period. A negative just means that one small sample was negative.

Reasons for seronegativity  in blood for Lyme disease.:


A local labs result  is usually not worth the paper it's  printed on for Lyme.
168348 tn?1379360675
On way to get antibiotic now. It's Lyme. Dr is certain by the rash and photos I took. Wow C-
Avatar universal
Yay! I  hope he'll treat via ILADS guidelines! Good luck.
168348 tn?1379360675
I'm on 100mg of doxycycline 2x a day for 14 days.

I may never know if my knee swelling/fluid and charley horses in calves are related but if they don't come back I can pretty much ascertain they are.

Just kind of creeping me out knowing something bit me and was on my for 36-48hrs without me knowing it.  

Avatar universal
You've been prescribed the bare minimum Doxy for early Lyme, which is 200mg a day for 14 days (weird, because the "official" IDSA guidelines say 3 weeks).  An ILADS doc (who has seen hundreds or thousands of desperately sick people who got the same inadequate treatment), would be more likely to give you 300-400mg/day for 30 days.

Do whatever it takes to get a full month's worth.  While the two week prescription MIGHT do the trick for you, it might not.  Just read the story about Barbara Arnold in the publication called SFGate about how she was sick for 4 years after her 2 weeks of Doxy failed and how it took her 6 years and $200K out of pocket to get well. She's an attorney who now specializes in getting disability for Lyme patients who can't afford treatment.

If your doc won't give you a month's worth, then find another one who will.  Paying out of pocket for it is cheaper than paying out of pocket for late stage Lyme!
Avatar universal
P.S.  I can indeed see the ring around the inner red circle in the first picture.  I think your doc made the right call.

P.P.S. There are plenty of documented cases of people getting Lyme in far less than the official 24-36 hours required for transmission.  That official "minimum" for tick attachment was based on a single, highly flawed study.  Nymphs can feed in as little as 8 hours and they are the primary transmitters of Lyme to humans.  They can bite after you go to bed, and fall off when you wake up, and you never see them.
168348 tn?1379360675

I am pretty sure the lower dose is due to my being on very potent antibiotics for unrelated medical condition since March.  It's the risk/benefit, although this certainly poses a definite risk, too.I plan on following up with my regular doctor (this one was on-call that day in the group) as well as I already let my Urologist know of the new findings, so hopefully everyone will come to a reasonable game-plan re this Lyme.

Still not quite believing I'm a statistic but one day at a time I guess.

Avatar universal
"I am pretty sure the lower dose is due to my being on very potent antibiotics for unrelated medical condition since March."

I'm not sure I quite follow the thinking on that---- but if you're comfortable with that-------

Best of luck to you.
168348 tn?1379360675
I am not sure re the difference in what's recommended ..

Here's what I've read on a link on the CDC site:

Early Lyme Disease
Erythema migrans. Doxycycline (100 mg twice per day),
indicated in the Oxford Journals http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/9/1089.full which is a link on the CDC site:  http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/healthcare/clinicians.html#diagnosis

Not challenging, -- just not understanding.

What is ILADS ? How is it different than CDC or NIH ?  Does the AMA recognize ILADS?  This is all new to me ..

Avatar universal
Can't make a long comment right now, but as background:

There is serious difference of opinion in the medical community about how to diagnose and treat Lyme disease and other infections the Lyme ticks also often carry (co-infections).

The so-called mainstream position is that Lyme is hard to get and easy to cure with a short course of doxycycline, regardless of how long you have been infected and what co-infections the ticks that bit you may have carried.  The CDC and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) both hold to this view.

The more progressive view, proposed by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) is that Lyme is a more insidious infection that requires more careful diagnosis to identify what infections the ticks may have brought with them (Lyme and/or several other separate infections called as a group simply 'co-infections').  ILADS is a voluntary group for MDs who know that Lyme is far more complex to diagnose than the CDC/IDSA docs believe.

Patients like all of us (and perhaps now you also) are caught in the middle between the differing points of view.  Most people on this site are here because the CDC/IDSA view failed us, and we found our way to an ILADS-type MD, often called among us patients for easy reference 'Lyme-literate MDs', or LLMDs.  It is not a degree or a title, just patient slang for easy categorization.

The doxy dosage you quote above is not what an LLMD would like do except in the immediate aftermath of a tick bite, and by immediate I mean in the first day or so of the bite.  Doxy does not however treat most of the other 'bonus' infections the Lyme ticks often bring, so additional testing and treatment may be needed.

In your situation, I would consider finding an LLMD promptly for testing, diagnosis and treatment if needed.  You can get a referral to an ILADS member MD by emailing to     contact  [at]    ILADS   [dot]    org     and telling them where you are located and how far you can travel.

Doing this quickly is important, because the infection(s) spread through the body very quickly.  It is possible to be cured later in the course of the infection(s), but sooner is always better.  Many of us however never saw a tick or had a rash -- I didn't, and I had Lyme and a co-infection.

As far as I know, the NIH is a separate body from all the others mentioned, nor does the AMA.  But whether they do or not, there is a great deal of animosity between the 'Lyme is no big deal' group (IDSA, CDC) and 'Lyme is a serious illness' group (ILADS).  Having had Lyme and a co-infection myself, I go with the ILADS view.

Go to the ILADS website and look around, and if you have not already seen the movie 'Under Our Skin', you might consider it, although it is somewhat alarmist in its presentation, imo.  It may be available online, maybe for free.  Not sure.

Lyme is a very serious illness that will not go away by itself.  It is in the same microbial family as syphilis, and everyone takes that seriously.  Why not also take Lyme that seriously?  I have no idea, but it's a hot political issue in the medical field.  

Hope that helps.  We're here if you need further data.  Take care!
1763947 tn?1334058919
Nobody can say it better then Jackie but to give you an example, I have been fighting this for over 20 years. It wasn't until 3 years ago that all the bad bugs decided to come out for a festival. I was unable to walk, had periods of blindness, couldn't open the fridge...and more.

I wish I knew about ILADS when I first was bit because now I have some permanent nerve damage from it. It would have saved a lot of money and time.

Good luck
168348 tn?1379360675
Thanks so much.  What antibiotics generally cover co-infections.  I've been on Vantin, Cipro & Bactrim going back 8 weeks ( almost continuous for UTI cultures + with sensitivities ). Those bacterium were E-coli & the other one that has pneumonea in the name.  Prior to 8 weeks back to March I've been on IV Rocephan and the others listed above.  

How long from bite to rash dies ILADS suggest? I've read online up to 6 weeks but more common 3 days to 3-4 weeks prior.  

Thanks for everyone's help. Greatly appreciated above info!!

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