Most people correctly associate Lyme disease with tick bites but many of those same individuals don’t always know the signs and symptoms to look for or that any particular symptoms they might be experiencing could be indicative of the illness unless they have knowingly experienced a tick bite. Lyme disease, when left untreated, could cause serious complications such as arthritis, cognitive issues, and neurological disorders, including facial paralysis. Recognizing the possibility of Lyme disease, and seeking treatment immediately, affords the best opportunity to cure the disease quickly with antibiotics and avoid any long-term issues.
Many of the initial symptoms of Lyme disease present within the first 30 days could easily be mistaken for those of other conditions, so it is important to be cognizant of recent outdoor activities when considering your potential for Lyme disease.
- Fever or headache
- Cold chills
- Achy muscles or joints
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash, characterized by a bull’s eye appearance and a warm sensation on the rash at the site of the bite
After 30 days, more serious symptoms of Lyme disease can materialize and require immediate medical attention.
- Shortness of breath
- Neck stiffness or severe headaches
- Erythema migrans rashes elsewhere on the body
- Severe joint pain and swelling
- Nerve pain or numbness in appendages
- Short-term memory issues
- Eye or liver inflammation
- Heart arrhythmia or palpitations
- Facial palsy
- Brain or spinal cord inflammation
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of Lyme disease and live in a rural area or have recently visited a place known for ticks or Lyme disease, contact your primary care physician immediately. Read on for additional information on ticks and the prevention of bites to safely enjoy the great outdoors this summer.