Lyme Disease Symptoms & Prevention: Part II

rivers-258367_1920Perhaps the most well-known symptom of Lyme disease is a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye. This occurs in 70-80 percent of people infected by a tick bite. The area directly around the tick bite may be red and raised and look like a normal bug bite. The rash often spreads in a circular pattern that’s lighter in the center and darker on the outer ring. However, not everyone who gets Lyme disease gets the target-shaped rash.

Classic signs of early Lyme disease include: muscle aches, headache, fatigue and fever. Some people with Lyme disease experience other, more advanced symptoms of the illness. Joint pain, especially in the knees, and a stiff neck may occur in the early-symptom stage or several months after your tick bite. Severe headaches and shooting pain in your body can occur. Dizziness and changes in your heart rate or rhythm are also advanced symptoms of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you’re treated, the better your chances for recovery. Most people who are diagnosed in the early stages take an oral medication for between two and three weeks.

Prevention
Ultimately, it’s best to avoid and prevent infection, obviously. While we don’t want to limit time outdoors, it’s imperative to use caution and follow these guidelines to reduce your chances of a tick bite:

-Use DEET on skin and treat clothing with spray containing permethrin.
-Avoid tick-infested areas, such as dense leaves under trees.
– Avoid brushing against long grasses and brush on edges of paths. Don’t sit on stumps or fallen logs.
-Wear light-colored long pants and long sleeves so you can easily see any ticks.
-Tuck shirt into pants and tuck pants into socks.
-Do a thorough tick check upon returning inside and for several days following exposure.

Symptoms can start at any time between three and 30 days after infection. The incubation period can also lead to confusion about your symptoms. If you don’t remember being bitten, you may think you have the flu and you may not connect the tick bite and your symptoms.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. They can administer a Lyme disease test kit, as well as blood work, to confirm or rule out Lyme disease infection.

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