What are the Signs of Lyme Disease?
June 9, 2020
Now that New Englanders are getting outside and are enjoying the nice weather after weeks of being confined in quarantine, they are encountering the same old pests from past years such as bees, mosquitoes, and the dreaded tick!
With more and more people in our region looking to escape into the quiet solitude of a hike along the many woodland trails in our area, it might be a good idea to review the signs of Lyme Disease caused by a tick bite.
There is a misconception out there that everyone who gets bitten by an infected tick will get a bullseye rash on their skin, thus tipping off the person to their exposure to Lyme Disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) fewer than half of the patients who get Lyme actually get a bullseye rash. That means that we should all be aware of other symptoms in order to catch the disease in the early stages.
In the first 3 to 30 days after a bite from an infected tick, a person may notice symptoms that include: fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. These usually occur in the absence of rash.
Some people who are bitten do experience the telltale sign of the bullseye rash. It is usually directly at the site of the bite and expands daily reaching up to twelve inches across. It may be warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful. The bullseye rash is temporary so many times it is not noticed, especially if it is in a hard to reach location on the body.
Later Signs and Symptoms
As the disease progresses, many people may experience a wide range of symptoms that may be brushed aside or thought to be a part of another sickness or illness. These include:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme carditis)
- Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- Nerve pain
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet (Source: CDC)
If you have any of these signs please contact your doctor immediately. Protect your family and yourself by using insect repellant that has a key ingredient, DEET, and follow guidelines for safety when walking in wooded areas, and wear clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Always conduct a tick check after being outside for yourself, your family members, and your pets. Some families find peace of mind by having their yards treated for mosquitoes and ticks by our specialists. Call us for a consultation today.