What is it?

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. It spreads to humans through the bite of an infected tick, which often goes unnoticed. Most tick bites happen in the summer months, and people who spend lots of time outdoors are at increased risk.
At first, Lyme disease usually causes symptoms such as a rash, fever, headache, and fatigue. But if it is not treated early, the infection can spread to other organs. Prompt treatment can help you recover quickly.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Erythema chronica migrans

Signs & symptoms

Early symptoms of Lyme disease start between 3 to 30 days after the bite. The symptoms can include a red rash that can get bigger over several days, and may look like a bull's-eye, with a faded center. Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches.
If the infection is not treated, it can spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system. The symptoms may include severe headache, facial palsy, severe joint inflammation, heart palpitations, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. He or she will perform a physical exam and ask regarding recent travels and outdoor camping.
A final diagnosis is made through a blood test. However, because these tests take time, and the results are often negative in an early infection, treatment will be started if your physical exam and symptoms raise suspicion for Lyme disease.

Treatment

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better; it gives you the best chance of fully recovering quickly.
After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts more than 6 months. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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