Lyme disease is a serious debilitating condition spread from a tick bite. Ticks carrying a spiral shaped bacteria, Borrelia burdorferi, can burrow under your skin and spread the bacterial infection within 24 hours. This disease is prevalent throughout the world and therefore everyone should be aware of the warning signs.
The bull’s-eye rash, also known as erythema migrans, is one of the hallmarks of Lyme disease. A small red bump with a red outer ring surrounding a clear area may appear at the site of a tick bite. Flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and a headache may accompany the rash. It is important to note that symptoms may not occur immediately, they can present months or even years later.
Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult. Fewer than 50% of patients recall a tick bite and less than 50% recall any rash. Many people react differently to the infection and negative lab results cannot be trusted as many lab tests are unreliable. The first step screening test, the ELISA, misses 35% of proven Lyme disease cases. Chronic Lyme disease can present with many symptoms including severe fatigue, anxiety, headaches and joint pain. In fact many Lyme patients are often first diagnosed with other illnesses. Currently there is no test accurate enough to detect Lyme disease with confidence and therefore it is considered a clinical diagnosis; based on presenting signs and symptoms.
Lyme disease is a serious condition. If you have had a tick bite, have seen a rash, are showing any symptoms or are concerned that you may have Lyme disease, please do not hesitate to see a Health Care Provider. Do not be afraid to get a second opinion. The quicker you act the sooner you can treat the bacterial infection.
For more information on Lyme Disease check out our article series on The Truth About Lyme Disease