How To Know If You Have Lyme Disease

While the arrival of summer season brings the chance to spend extra time lounging in your garden or mountain climbing woodsy trails, we’re not the one ones excited concerning the lengthy, heat days forward: Ticks are most lively from April via September. And whereas nobody needs a bug chew, ticks are considerably extra threatening than most bugs.

These poppy-to-sesame-seed-sized bugs are liable for the unfold of Lyme illness, notably within the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and higher Midwest. Lyme illness is the most typical vector-borne illness within the United Statesin different phrases, it’s the most typical human sickness attributable to a biting insect that spreads a parasite.

While treatable with antibiotics if caught early sufficient, if it’s left untreated, Lyme illness signs can unfold to the joints, coronary heart and nervous system, which is why it’s necessary to catch it early (or, ideally, to keep away from getting it in any respect).

Below, infectious illness specialists share the most typical early signs of Lyme illness so that you don’t find yourself with a power case of it ― and methods to keep away from getting it within the first place.

The Top Early Signs Of Lyme Disease

Dr. Tammy Lundstrom, an infectious illness specialist at Trinity Health in Michigan, and Dr. Sarah Park, an infectious illness clinician who works on the life sciences firm Karius in Honolulu, instructed looking for the next early indicators of Lyme illness.

A ‘Bullseye’ Rash

Formally referred to as “erythema migrans,” a rash that appears like a bullseye or goal is the most typical early Lyme illness symptom, based on Lundstrom.

“It can be very faint, however,” she mentioned. “It also may be absent in 20-30% of cases and can be hard to see on darker skin tones.”

Park added that this rash usually seems inside three to 30 days following a tick chew.

Flu-Like Symptoms

Between COVID, the flu and even the widespread chilly, if you end up with achy joints, chills, a fever, a headache or different flu-like signs, Lyme illness might not be the very first thing in your thoughts. But these signs might be indicators of it.

“These symptoms can easily be mistaken for a common viral infection such as a cold or flu,” Lundstrom mentioned. “However, the onset of these symptoms paired with potential tick exposure ― for example, hiking in the brush, woodsy areas or tall grass ― occurring three to seven days afterward can signal Lyme disease is a possible cause. Be sure to consult with a medical professional, especially if you identify the bullseye rash or develop other noted symptoms.”


Sudden fatigue is also an early Lyme illness signal.

“Fatigue is an early sign that is frequently dismissed and assumed to occur from not enough sleep or regular everyday activities like working out,” Park mentioned.

Non-Bullseye Rashes

Other rashes that don’t appear to be a goal might be an early signal of Lyme illness, too.

“A bullseye rash may first appear as a small red bump or a solid red patch that gradually expands, but not everyone develops this type of rash,” Park mentioned. “Other skin manifestations like hives or discomfort similar to a sunburn can also occur.”

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Fatigue is likely one of the hallmark indicators of Lyme illness.

How To Prevent Lyme Disease

While Lyme illness is treatable when caught early sufficient, one of the best case state of affairs is that you just don’t get it in any respect — which is why it’s key to guard your self from ticks, concentrate on the early indicators of Lyme illness, and know when and the place you’re most definitely to get it.

“The illness is caused by ticks in the nymph stage, not adults,” Lundstrom mentioned. “They may be very small, around the size of a poppy seed, and hard to see, but it is important to do a thorough check for ticks after outdoor activities. This includes skin folds and your hair. Early recognition and treatment are key to preventing chronic symptoms such as arthritis, headaches, neck stiffness and facial drooping.”

In addition to checking for tinier ticks (bear in mind: the scale of a poppyseed!) Lundstrom recommends carrying lengthy pants and long-sleeved shirts when mountain climbing.

“Treat clothing with 0.5% permethrin or buy pretreated hiking gear, and use EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET,” she added. “Walk in the center of trails for less contact with brush and grass, and always examine skin and clothing carefully and shower to wash off unattached ticks upon returning from a hike.”

If you like a DEET-free various, Lundstrom mentioned picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone are choices to search for in an EPA-registered insect repellent.

It’s additionally necessary to do common tick checks if you happen to reside in an space with extra Lyme illness and to hunt assist straight away if you happen to’re noticing any indicators that might be signs of the illness.

Finally, know that most often, a tick must be connected to your physique for 36 to 48 hours earlier than Lyme illness will be transmitted, which is why checking for and eradicating ticks rapidly could make all of the distinction in the case of Lyme illness prevention.

While a Lyme illness vaccine could also be a risk in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later, for now, it’s a actuality we’re dwelling with. So know the indicators, put on protecting clothes and bug spray, and do common tick checks this summer season. Trust us, you received’t remorse it.

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