Lyme disease is pretty scary. As symptoms can vary from person to person it’s important to be able to identify symptoms, in order to treat this disease as soon as possible. The earlier you can treat it the better prognosis you’ll have. Before we get into it hit the subscribe button and click the notification bell too so you never miss our informative and fun videos.
It’s reported that there are over 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease are discovered each year. Since it’s so popular we think it’s a good idea to learn about the symptoms of Lyme disease and what you can look out for.
First off, Lyme disease is spread by being bitten by a certain type of tick. The tick has to be attached to someone for more than 36 hours before it can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. We know that ticks are kind of gross but it’s even worse that they can also carry the debilitating disease known as Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is caused by spiral-shaped bacteria, that is carried by the deer tick who then transmits it to people. Unfortunately, deer ticks are pretty popular in the United States and if you’re someone who enjoys camping or walking through the woods you might come into contact with one of these black-legged bugs. The important thing is knowing how to identify the potential symptoms of Lyme disease. If you become ill remember these symptoms can vary from person to person and can start anywhere from days to weeks after someone is bitten.
Here are a few symptoms of Lyme disease that you can be on the watch for.
- Rash- A rash is usually the first symptom that will pop up if you become ill. Well, the rash will not just be any rash and it’s called Erythema Migrans or an e/m rash. This will likely expand or might even look like a bulls-eye being whiter towards the middle with a red ring surrounding the rash. It could develop anywhere from 3 to 30 days after you fall ill and can disappear after the four-week mark even if left untreated. Unlike other types of rashes, this one won’t be itchy or painful. Instead, this rash has been known to expand up to 30 centimeters across and will be warm to the touch. While a rash doesn’t always occur, it’s one of the most well-known symptoms of Lyme disease occurring on about 70 to 80% of people. On the other hand, this rash could also develop in more than one place on a person’s body at a time and it varies from person to person.
- Fatigue is another of the most common symptoms that will surface but not the only one. Some early symptoms can also seem like you have the flu but the difficulty is that feeling tired and the flu-like symptoms can come and go over the following weeks. This type of fatigue isn’t the same kind of tired you feel after working out or not getting enough sleep. This type of tired is one that takes over your whole body and can be quite dominant causing you to nap more often or needing more sleep.
- While headache and low-grade fever are listed as some symptoms they’re very unique and don’t always occur in the same way. For some people to make things even more difficult these symptoms can come and go. Plus, when the fever comes along it’s usually what’s called a low-grade fever, so many don’t think of it as a serious symptom or might not see it as a red flag. However, when accompanied by some of the other more common symptoms we’ve already mentioned above it could be something more serious and you should probably get it checked out.
- Neurological problems-Usually problems with memories start to occur later on in the Lyme disease cycle. This can range from difficulty concentrating on issues with your memory. In any case, it’s not something anyone wants to go through and can start to take effect in a few weeks, months or in some cases years after someone is infected with Lyme disease. While some decline in cognitive ability can be caused by something as simple as aging, studies published in PubMed show that about 24% of adults who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease have difficulty focusing. Elizabeth L Moloney says that 80% of those who have suffered from Lyme disease for an extended period of time have reported some form of memory loss, difficulty sleeping, body aches, and chills.
- Sleep issues- Difficulty in sleeping when you’re ill can be common and in the case of Lyme disease, the trouble isn’t quite like when you have insomnia. It’s caused more by either joint pain or fluctuations in a person’s body temperature like getting the chills or night sweats when trying to sleep. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night because you were freezing and can’t get warm, it doesn’t make for a restful sleep. In 2013, a study published by PubMed showed that about 60% of those affected with Lyme disease reported this type of temperature fluctuation during the night.
- Heart issues- Because Lyme disease is carried by a bacteria, it can travel and affect any part of the body including the heart muscle. Symptoms of Lyme disease affecting the heart muscle include becoming short of breath, feeling lightheaded, chest pains and even heart palpitations. When the heart is infected, it can block the electrical signals from one side of the heart to the other each side of the heart and if this happens the heart will beat in an irregular pattern commonly known as heart block. The good news is that this type of symptom is pretty rare and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only four to ten percent of those infected with Lyme disease have reported this type of heart block.
Lyme disease can be a very harmful disease if left untreated and undetected. Some studies have said that there are almost 1 million reported cases of Lyme disease each year in the United States so knowing some of the possible symptoms is a great way to protect yourself and those you love from falling ill to this difficult disease. If diagnosed early antibiotics can help treat this disease and Dr. Stephen Morris says that early detection can give a more positive prognosis.
You should be careful when out in the woods or camping. Protect yourself by using bug repellent or cover up any exposed skin if you’re worried about the population of ticks in a particular wooded or grassy area. Since it takes 36 to 48 hours for Lyme disease to take hold, taking proper precautions and checking yourself and your family or friends for ticks after being in an area that’s likely to have a higher population of the disease-carrying insect can really decrease your risk.
The CDC also recommends taking a shower after being in a wooded area or if you suspect you could have a tick somewhere on your body. Take precautions if you do find a tick and don’t remove it with your fingers instead head to the doctor or try using tweezers and remove the insect. If you think you may be infected with Lyme disease make sure you always seek out a medical professional.
Have you ever had a tick bite you before? What did you do to remove it? How do you keep yourself safe from the ticks and possible Lyme disease? Do you know someone or have you ever had to battle with Lyme disease? Let us know in the comments section below your thoughts about this terrible disease.