Five Warning Signs to Catch Lyme Disease Early.
The majority of tick bites do not result in Lyme disease, but it is important to be aware of the symptoms. Signs can often begin within days of initial infection. If you experience any of the following after a tick bite, contact a medical professional immediately.
1. Flu-like symptoms: Pains that you may normally associate with the flu can also be signs of Lyme disease. These symptoms can include headaches, stiff neck, joint pain, muscle aches, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue.
2. Skin rash: Seventy to eighty percent of people who contract Lyme disease display a red rash called "erythema migrans," which looks like a bull's eye and is often warm to the touch without itching or pain. It typically starts at the site of the infection, but can expand in size. The rash appears three days to a few weeks after a tick bite, with seven days being the average.
3. Joint stiffness: Several weeks to months after being infected, you may experience attacks of severe pain or swelling of the joints, especially in your knees.
4. Neurological issues: Nervous system symptoms can develop weeks or even years after infection. Possible issues include swelling of tissue around the brain, headaches, stiff neck, temporary paralysis of facial muscles, memory loss, trouble concentrating or mood changes. You may also experience numbness, weakness or shooting pain.
5. Less common symptoms: These signs usually appear weeks after infection and include irregular heartbeat or palpitations, inflammation of the eyes or liver and extreme fatigue.
Knowing the signs of Lyme disease can help you to get treatment in a timely manner. Most cases are treated with antibiotics, and like many health issues, the sooner you receive treatment, the better your chances are for a positive outcome.
For more information about Lyme disease and how to prevent it, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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