Know the Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Know the Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The CDC gets 30,000 reports annually about Americans with Lyme disease. But they discovered the actual number of folks diagnosed with the infection is ten times that -- 300,000. Who knows how many are undiagnosed.

What this means -- particularly if you live in the Northeast and upper Midwest where 96% of cases occur -- is that you need to be aware of the symptoms. Early treatment with inexpensive antibiotics usually takes care of the problem.

Day 3-30 after a Lyme-infected tick bite: About 70-80% of folks get a red, expanding “bulls eye” rash. Fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes are also signs.

Days to weeks later: More rashes appear, facial or Bell’s palsy can develop, along with severe headaches and a stiff neck (meningitis), painful and swollen joints, even heart palpitations and dizziness. These symptoms may go away without treatment but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods: Treatment helps you avoid chronic problems, even though 10-20% of folks who get treatment have lingering symptoms.

So wear long sleeves, high socks and slacks and use DEET insect repellant when you’re out and about. And see a doc ASAP if you think you’ve been bitten. You know the symptoms. 

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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