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 - cold allergy

Can Lyme Disease Cause An Allergy To The Cold?

Lyme disease can throw up all kinds of confusing symptoms. This is especially true in its chronic form, which has earned it the nickname “The Great Imitator.” Lyme represents a major challenge for both patients and doctors alike. On the one hand, late-stage Lyme disease has no defined set of symptoms, with most manifestations of the disease being generalized and patient-specific. On the other hand, chronic Lyme is not considered a legitimate disorder by most official medical bodies, meaning that research and studies on the effects of the disease are limited.

Many doctors don’t fully understand the effects of chronic Lyme, and as such, diagnosis is often compromised due to confusing symptoms. One of these disparate symptoms is called cold urticaria, which essentially translates an allergy to the cold. But can Lyme disease cause urticaria?

Continue reading “Can Lyme Disease Cause An Allergy To The Cold?”
Infectolab - brain

Which Organs Can Be Affected By Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an illness brought on by the Borrelia bacterium. It is spread to humans through tick bites. When ticks get hold of humans, they transfer the disease through the bloodstream, sending the bacteria to all areas of the body. Lyme disease became known and studied in the early 80s, but some fossilized ticks have been known to have carried the bacteria from as long as 15 million years ago.

Continue reading “Which Organs Can Be Affected By Lyme Disease?”