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How can you tell if you have Lyme disease?
What is Lyme disease and what are the symptoms to look for?
Will Lyme disease eventually kill you?
What are your chances of getting Lyme disease?
Jan 15, 2021 · Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 Days After Tick Bite) The appearance of the erythema migrans rash can vary widely.
- Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of early Lyme disease may present as a flu-like illness (fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and joint pain). Some patients have a rash or Bells palsy (facial drooping). However, although a rash shaped like a bulls-eye is considered characteristic of Lyme disease, many people develop a different kind of Lyme rash or none at all. Estimates of patients who develop a Lyme rash vary widely, ranging from about 30% to 80%.
For example, a CDC report on Lyme carditis, which can be fatal, found that only 42% of cases had a rash.
LymeDisease.org has developed a Lyme disease symptom checklist to help you document your exposure to Lyme disease and common symptoms for your healthcare provider. You will receive a report that you can print out and take with you to your next doctors appointment.
Many Lyme symptoms, such as fatigue, cognitive impairment, joint pain, poor sleep, mood problems, muscle pain, and neurological presentations also occur in other diseases. Hence, the symptoms of Lyme disease significantly overlap those of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, ALS, depression and Alzheimers disease. Many Lyme patients report being misdiagnosed with a different condition before being properly diagnosed with Lyme disease.
In order for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to recognize a Lyme case for surveillance purposes, there must be objective findings, such as positive blood tests, Bells palsy or joint swelling (even though Lyme blood tests are unreliable and the CDCs accepted objective indicators are not common). The chart below reflects the CDC-reviewed surveillance case manifestations from 2001 to 2010.
This situation contributes to what many experts view as severe undercounting of Lyme disease by the CDC.
- Risk Factors
Lyme disease is caused by four main species of bacteria. Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii cause Lyme disease in the United States, while Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are the leading causes in Europe and Asia. The most common tick-borne illness in these regions, Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. You're more likely to get Lyme disease if you live or spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where ticks carrying Lyme disease thrive. It's important to take common-sense precautions in tick-infested areas.
The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary. They usually appear in stages, but the stages can overlap.
In the United States, Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii, carried primarily by black-legged or deer ticks. Young brown ticks often are no bigger than a poppy seed, which can make them nearly impossible to spot. To contract Lyme disease, an infected deer tick must bite you. The bacteria enter your skin through the bite and eventually make their way into your bloodstream. In most cases, to transmit Lyme disease, a deer tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours. If you find an attached tick that looks swollen, it may have fed long enough to transmit bacteria. Removing the tick as soon as possible might prevent infection.
Where you live or vacation can affect your chances of getting Lyme disease. So can your profession and the outdoor activities you enjoy. The most common risk factors for Lyme disease include: 1. Spending time in wooded or grassy areas.In the United States, deer ticks are found mostly in the heavily wooded areas of the Northeast and Midwest. Children who spend a lot of time outdoors in these regions are especially at risk. Adults with outdoor jobs also are at increased risk. 2. Having exposed skin.Ticks attach easily to bare flesh. If you're in an area where ticks are common, protect yourself and your children by wearing long sleeves and long pants. Don't allow your pets to wander in tall weeds and grasses. 3. Not removing ticks promptly or properly.Bacteria from a tick bite can enter your bloodstream if the tick stays attached to your skin for 36 to 48 hours or longer. If you remove a tick within two days, your risk of getting Lyme disease is low.
Untreated Lyme disease can cause: 1. Chronic joint inflammation (Lyme arthritis), particularly of the knee 2. Neurological symptoms, such as facial palsy and neuropathy 3. Cognitive defects, such as impaired memory 4. Heart rhythm irregularities
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid areas where deer ticks live, especially wooded, bushy areas with long grass. You can decrease your risk of getting Lyme disease with some simple precautions: 1. Cover up.When in wooded or grassy areas, wear shoes, long pants tucked into your socks, a long-sleeved shirt, a hat and gloves. Try to stick to trails and avoid walking through low bushes and long grass. Keep your dog on a leash. 2. Use insect repellents. Apply insect repellent with a 20% or higher concentration of DEET to your skin. Parents should apply repellant to their children, avoiding their hands, eyes and mouth. Keep in mind that chemical repellents can be toxic, so follow directions carefully. Apply products with permethrin to clothing or buy pretreated clothing. 3. Do your best to tick-proof your yard.Clear brush and leaves where ticks live. Mow your lawn regularly. Stack wood neatly in dry, sunny areas to discourage rodents that carry ticks. 4. Check your clothing,...
- Marjorie Hecht
- Rashes. The signature rash of a Lyme tick bite looks like a solid red oval or a bull’s-eye. It can appear anywhere on your body. The bull’s-eye has a central red spot, surrounded by a clear circle with a wide red circle on the outside.
- Fatigue. Whether or not you see the tick bite or the classic Lyme rash, your early symptoms are likely to be flu-like. Symptoms are often cyclical, waxing and waning every few weeks (12).
- Achy, stiff, or swollen joints. Joint pain and stiffness, often intermittent, are early Lyme symptoms. Your joints may be inflamed, warm to the touch, painful, and swollen.
- Headaches, dizziness, fever. Other common flu-like symptoms are headaches, dizziness, fever, muscle pain, and malaise. About 50 percent of people with Lyme disease have flu-like symptoms within a week of their infection (18).
Nov 14, 2009 · Click for Symptoms. joint/muscle pain in feet, ankle pain, shin splints, joint pain or swelling, stiffness of the joints, neck or back, muscle pain or cramps that migrate, Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ/TMJD jaw pain), neck creaks & cracks, neck stiffness.
The medical community acknowledges that approximately 5-20% of patients may have chronic symptoms after getting Lyme disease, often ones that are quite disabling. Whatever one calls it, the experience is the same. Most often these patients experience profound fatigue, pain, and/or cognitive impairment.