Infectolab - facial palsy

Is Facial Palsy From Lyme Disease Permanent?

Lyme disease is a complicated illness. It’s caused by the Borrelia bacteria, which is transferred to humans through a tick bite. Antibiotics are the only course of treatment following infection, but sometimes the debilitating symptoms of a Lyme infection can linger long after treatment has finished.

This late-stage Lyme disease is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), and it can last for years following the initial infection. The chronic symptoms that arise from PTLDS can include:

  • Cognitive disfunction
  • Nerve damage
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fatigue
  • Depression and stress
  • Damage to the heart

These symptoms can be hard to manage due to the initial cause, and many Lyme disease sufferers can do nothing but treat the current ailment and wait it out.

Another common symptom of PTLDS is Bell’s palsy, or facial palsy. Let’s take a look at some questions about facial palsy and Lyme disease, including “Is facial palsy from Lyme disease permanent?”

Can Lyme disease affect your face?

If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, further complications may not arise. But for those who have been left untreated due to a lack of knowledge regarding their symptoms, it can progress significantly.

The Borrelia bacteria has a way of making its rounds throughout the body once it enters the bloodstream, and it can camp out in fibroblast cells (scar tissue) and lymph nodes. It has the ability to hide itself in a way that decreases the chances of the immune system having a response. This means the bacteria can still thrive and have a negative effect on all the body’s systems, including the nerves that affect the face.

Infectolab - nerve cell
Image by ColiN00B on Pixabay: Is facial palsy a symptom of Lyme disease? Yes, Lyme disease can affect nerves throughout the body, leading to facial palsy.

Can Lyme disease cause Bell’s palsy?

Although Lyme disease can cause facial palsy in those suffering from late-stage or chronic illness, it’s not exactly the same as Bell’s palsy. Bell’s palsy is caused by inflammation and swelling of the facial nerve and causes paralysis on the side affected. In the majority of cases, Bell’s palsy presents with just one symptom: facial paralysis. It can also present with ear pain, though this isn’t always the case.

In terms of facial palsy associated with Lyme disease, facial paralysis tends to go along with a plethora of other Lyme symptoms, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle and joint aches

The main difference between a typical case of Bell’s palsy and facial palsy caused by Lyme disease is the accompanying symptoms that present in the patient. The facial palsy in Lyme disease patients is caused by the Borrelia bacteria’s ability to damage nerves. It does this by attaching itself to the nerves and inflaming the area to an unsafe level. Once the inflammation has taken hold, the nerve damage begins to increase. Nerve damage associated with Lyme disease can be recovered from, but if left for too long, can lead to permanent damage in the affected area.

How long does facial palsy last with Lyme disease?

There is no definitive cause of Bell’s palsy, and the disease itself can strike at any time and any age. Some cases may arise due to a viral infection, but that is not the status quo when it comes to the onset of the condition. A typical bout of Bell’s palsy can last anywhere from a few weeks to around six months, and in most cases it does resolve. In few patients, the condition is permanent or can recur, though this is quite uncommon.

The facial palsy that occurs with Lyme disease is a little trickier. The recovery time is almost three times the amount than with a case of Bell’s palsy, with some cases taking roughly 18 months to resolve. Recovery time is also dependent on how quickly treatment begins.

Diagnosis of Lyme disease

Lyme disease has the uncanny ability to mimic other conditions, as well as lay dormant in the body in areas where it can thrive without causing an immune response. These tactics can make diagnosing facial palsy as a Lyme disease repercussion much more difficult.

To ensure that a patient with facial palsy is getting the right treatment, tests will need to be done to rule out certain conditions, and medical history will be taken into account. When Lyme disease is found to be the culprit, treatment may begin.

Infectolab - antibiotics
Image by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash: Antibiotics are the only treatment available for Lyme disease.

Treatment for Lyme-induced facial palsy

The treatment for Lyme-induced facial palsy begins with proper diagnosis. Because Lyme disease can be mistaken for Bell’s palsy, misdiagnosis can occur in those who don’t have the usual symptoms of PTLDS. Treatment can be a long road if that occurs, because Bell’s palsy is often treated with antivirals or corticosteroids.

There has been a link between the worsening of Lyme disease symptoms and treatment with corticosteroids – thus, if the condition is misdiagnosed, it can lead to much longer recovery times. Lyme disease treatment will always start with an antibiotic, and then, depending on symptoms, will lead up to various other treatment levels.

Physical therapy to help restore the movement in facial muscles may also need to be carried out to ensure a speedier recovery. Other treatments for Lyme-induced facial palsy include eye drops if the eyes have been affected, and in the most serious cases, surgery to improve the appearance of the face following nerve damage.

Featured image by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Infectolab - tick

Is Coxsackie Virus A Lyme Co-Infection?

Some diseases often go hand in hand because of the way they affect the body. When this occurs in a patient, it is referred to as a co-infection. Co-infections occur when two or more pathogens get into a cell and cause infection.

In the case of Lyme disease, many other infections can occur when one becomes infected with the Borrelia bacteria (the bacteria that causes Lyme). This is because diseased ticks are often infected with more than just one type of bacteria at a time. For example, if a person becomes infected from a tick that has Borrelia as well as anaplasmosis, the severity of Lyme disease can worsen and it can lead to a more difficult positive diagnosis.

But when it comes to the Coxsackie virus, is it a Lyme disease co-infection? Let’s take a look at what Coxsackie virus is, and if it relates to Lyme disease.

Is Coxsackie virus a tick-borne disease?

The Coxsackie virus is an enterovirus that is transmitted through fecal-oral contact. It is not generally considered a tick-borne disease because it can be transmitted through other routes, including fecal-oral, or oral ingestion of air droplets.

The virus has two different types: Type A and B. Type A leads to hand, foot, and mouth disease and can generally be found in children. The severity of Type A infections often vary, but they tend to be mild and clear up on their own within two weeks.

Type B infections also often resolve on their own within two weeks, but come with different symptoms such as fever, lung problems, and headache. In rare and serious cases, both Type A and B Coxsackie viruses can lead to meningitis, myocarditis, and pericarditis.

Infectolab - Lyme disease tick
Image by Catkin on Pixabay: Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness caused by the borrelia bacteria.

Coxsackie virus and Lyme disease

Although Coxsackie virus and Lyme disease are not the same thing, they can both be transmitted via tick bite. Ticks often carry more than one disease, and when a person is bitten by an infected tick, they are then given all the bacteria that single tick was holding onto. Both Coxsackie and Lyme can be contracted by ticks, but only Lyme disease is caused solely by tick bites.

The two diseases can present themselves similarly to one another, making it hard to diagnose whether or not a person is infected with Coxsackie, Lyme, or both. Coxsackie virus is considered to be a Lyme co-infection because those with Lyme disease are often also diagnosed with Coxsackie.

Can Lyme disease be misdiagnosed as Coxsackie virus?

Lyme disease symptoms range in severity depending on the length of the infection, whether or not it has progressed to the chronic stage, and how a person responds to treatment. Although it is extremely difficult to rid the body of Lyme disease completely, it can go into remission after treatment, even if other symptoms remain with a patient long after the antibiotics course.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Bulls-eye like rash at the bite site
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Cognitive disfunction
  • Neurological issues such as meningitis and Bell’s palsy

Although Coxsackie virus doesn’t present in exactly the same way, it does often lead to symptoms such as:

  • Painful blisters and sores on the hands and feet, and in the mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Rash

In more serious cases of Coxsackie virus, meningitis and encephalitis are not uncommon. Weakness and paralysis are also often found in those suffering from the most severe cases of Coxsackie virus. These severe symptoms can often lead to a misdiagnosis of both Lyme and Coxsackie, because they can present as one and the same.

What causes air hunger in Lyme disease?

There are other co-infections that can occur in those infected with Lyme disease. They include:

  • Babesia
  • Bartonella
  • Rickettsia
  • Anaplasmosis

In the specific case of babesia, a certain symptom called “air hunger” can occur. Air hunger is the feeling of being hungry for air, caused by the body’s lack of oxygen and need for more air in the bloodstream. This symptom is not usually present in those who suffer from a Coxsackie-Lyme co-infection, but it’s still important to test for all possible co-infections if one is diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Infectolab - child doctor
Image by Jarmoluk on Pixabay: Coxsackie virus is often diagnosed through physical examination.

How do you test for Coxsackie virus?

Testing for Coxsackie virus is generally relaxed and often merely includes a simple physical examination. Because the virus presents itself with a rash, sores, and other obvious symptoms, it’s easy for doctors to determine the infection by simply looking at a patient and asking a few questions.

The problem with the physical examination to diagnose Coxsackie virus, though, is that those who have been infected but are no longer exhibiting symptoms may not receive the positive diagnosis they need.

This is when a more invasive test needs to be done, such as Infectolab’s ELISA test. The ELISA test is an enzyme immunoassay designed to look for specific antigens or antibodies to determine whether an infection has occurred. These tests are highly accurate and can diagnose a patient based on whether the infection occurred in their body at any time in the past, as opposed to only during the examination.

How to treat Coxsackie virus

To treat Coxsackie virus, no specific medication is required. Because viral diseases don’t respond to antibiotics, most treatment plans consist of over-the-counter medication to help curb symptoms until the virus has been eradicated from the body. In the case of Lyme disease, antibiotics need to be administered to help the body rid itself of the Borrelia bacteria.

If you have both Lyme disease and Coxsackie virus, treatment becomes a little different. You will need to take antibiotics as well as over-the-counter medications to help with symptoms. Uncomfortable symptoms may feel worse because of the co-infection, but dual treatment is the best bet to rid yourself of the bacteria and virus and get back to normal.

Featured image by Erik Karits on Pixabay

Infectolab - mold

How Do You Test For Aspergillus?

Aspergillus, also known as aspergillus fumigatus, is a type of mold spore commonly found in compost piles, vegetable matter, foods, spices, and on dead leaves. The mold spores can hang around in the air or be carried indoors by shoes or clothing, and can also grow on carpeted areas, dust, and materials used in building.

The infection caused by the overexposure to aspergillus spores is called aspergillosis. It occurs when the mold spores are breathed in on a regular basis and attach themselves to tissues in the body. This infection can cause numerous health problems if inhaled in large amounts, and people with weakened immune systems or allergies are more susceptible to its negative effects.

What are the signs and symptoms of aspergillus overexposure?

Symptoms that can be caused by an overexposure to aspergillus can range depending on the type of infection. Pulmonary aspergillosis occurs mostly in people with lung disorders and mainly affects the lung system. Symptoms of pulmonary aspergillosis include a chronic cough with mucus or blood, fever, difficulty breathing or shallow breathing, wheezing, and chest pain. In people who suffer from invasive aspergillosis, symptoms are much more severe. Invasive aspergillosis occurs when the infection gets into the bloodstream and can cause kidney failure, shortness of breath, liver failure, bleeding from the lungs, and shock.

Bronchopulmonary aspergillosis is a type of infection that is most like an allergic reaction. People who suffer from chronic lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis or asthma are most at risk for this type of aspergillosis. The symptoms include coughing, wheezing, fever, asthma symptoms, and increased mucus or blood secretions.

Infectolab - cough
Image by Nastya Gepp on Pixabay: A chronic cough with mucus or blood can be a sign that you have been overexposed to aspergillus.

What’s the test for aspergillus infection?

Testing for aspergillus infection can be difficult because it can mimic other chronic conditions, especially in people who suffer from lung disorders. A doctor will ask about medical history to pin down the cause, and may perform a series of other tests to reach a diagnosis. Tests include skin and blood, imaging, and sputum culture.

For a skin test, the doctor will inject the aspergillus antigen into the body, most likely on the lower arm, to see if the body has an allergic reaction. A blood test will be done to check for antibodies that would be present in the event of an allergic reaction. Examination of the lungs may be performed to check for an aspergillus mass and sampling of the sputum will be done to check for the presence of fungus. To diagnose invasive aspergillosis, a biopsy of lung tissue may need to be performed to confirm the presence of the infection.

What is the treatment for aspergillus infection?

Depending on the type of infection, treatment options may vary. Antifungal drugs are generally the first line of defense against an aspergillosis infection to help destroy the fungus in the body. It is the most used treatment for invasive aspergillosis. Doctors may use Voriconazole because it has less side effects than others, but if the infection is resistant to other antifungals, Caspofungin may be used.

For bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, an oral corticosteroid medication will be used to treat the allergic reaction caused by the fungus. In the most severe cases, surgery may be required to remove a mass of aspergillomas that can built up in the lungs and cause excessive bleeding. Another effective treatment for aspergillomas is embolization to help inhibit blood flow to the site, but full removal is the main treatment for this type of aspergillosis.

The link between aspergillus and Lyme disease

Lyme disease can lead to a host of different health issues, some of which can last years after the infection. In people with Lyme disease, the immune system is heavily compromised, so the risk of contracting an infection caused by aspergillus can be heightened. When patients with Lyme disease do contract aspergillosis, it can be hard to both diagnose and treat, and can lead to worsened chronic symptoms and a worse case of the aspergillosis infection. This is due to the body’s inability to fight off the infection on its own.

The symptoms that can present in both patients with Lyme disease and aspergillosis include headaches; fever; problems with the overall healthy function of the body and its organs, including the liver and kidneys; and chronic fatigue or inability to perform functions such as exercise. Due to the symptoms being similar, and the susceptibility to becoming infected with aspergillus spores, people suffering from Lyme disease may be more at risk of developing aspergillosis.

Infectolab - immune system
Image by Allinone Movie on Pixabay: A weakened immune system can lead to the development of the infection caused by aspergillus in Lyme disease patients. 

The bottom line

It is hard to avoid overexposure to aspergillus mold because of how common and widespread it is. People with weakened immune systems or chronic conditions are more susceptible to the aspergillus spores causing aspergillosis, so it’s important to take good care of your immune system.

This can be done by eating a diet rich in immune-boosting foods, getting daily exercise, and supplementing any vitamin and mineral deficiencies to ensure that the body is running at its most optimal. If you do have a weakened immune system or chronic illness that could heighten the risk of developing the infection, avoiding things that could cause overexposure (such as gardening or mowing the lawn) or wearing a mask in areas where high levels of mold occur is the best way to avoid an aspergillosis infection.

Featured image by Illuvis on Pixabay

Infectolab - antibiotics

Lyme Treatment And Candidiasis: The Link, Symptoms And Management

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that can become a chronic health issue if left untreated. During the early stages of the disease, symptoms can be mild and are flu-like in nature. Early symptoms include muscle aches, headaches, and a bullseye-like rash at the site of the tick bite. Due to the fact that the disease does mimic the flu, it can be hard to diagnose – and if left untreated, Lyme disease can wreak havoc on the body.

Continue reading “Lyme Treatment And Candidiasis: The Link, Symptoms And Management”
Infectolab - mold

How Chronic Exposure To Aspergillus Mold Can Exacerbate Lyme Disease Symptoms

Aspergillus is a type of fungus whose spores hang in the air and can end up getting breathed into the body. It’s usually not dangerous to breathe in aspergillus spores, but it can be. For people who suffer from autoimmune disorders, a weak immune system, or even something as simple as allergies that affect how the lungs operate, chronic exposure to aspergillus spores can lead to a disease called invasive aspergillosis.

Continue reading “How Chronic Exposure To Aspergillus Mold Can Exacerbate Lyme Disease Symptoms”