Lyme Disease Rash

Bullseye Rash

Not everyone who tests positive for Lyme disease gets the characteristic bulls-eye rash. Some may develop a minor rash but never notice it. Lyme may affect the skin more severely In some patients, resulting in an intense red rash that mimics other skin conditions, such as eczema, strep, or staph infection. The skin is also particularly susceptible because it is the largest organ of elimination. The elimination organs, which also include the lungs, seem to be most directly affected by the Lyme bacteria.

The well-known bulls-eye rash associated with Lyme disease can appear different on different people. Although it will commonly present as a white circle on the skin surrounded by a red area, sometimes it appears the opposite, with the red on the inside and the white in a circle around it. Lyme commonly is associated with fever, chills, flu-like symptoms and a headache, so if these symptoms are present and there is also a skin rash, a Lyme test is in order.


Pictures of Bullseye rash

The rash can last anywhere from several days to several months, even over a year. It can come and go in cycles that are related to the treatment the Lyme’s patient is receiving. Treatment often causes something called the Herxheimer reaction, a presentation or relapse of symptoms.

Lyme rashes are technically called cellulitis, another name for a skin infection. They can be very painful and cause violent itching. Dermatologists ignorant of the signs of Lyme disease have wrongly prescribed steroids in an effort to keep the rash from spreading. But steroids are contraindicated where Lyme is present and will replicate the bacteria, possibly causing Lyme disease to become chronic.

Patients suffering from persistent rashes are urged to consult a Lyme literate MD and have their blood tested if Lyme is suspected or another cause for the rash cannot be determined. In its early stages, Lyme can be treated successfully with antibiotics. As the disease moves into its later stages it can become more difficult to treat.

Copyright © 2005 Suzanne Arthur. All rights
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