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Know the Warning Signs of Lyme Disease

While getting bit by a tick isn’t always a cause for concern, if you’ve been bitten by a blacklegged tick that’s been infected then you too could contract Lyme disease. It’s important to recognize if you are at risk. If you’ve been bitten, if Lyme disease has been reported in your area, and if you develop these warning signs and symptoms, it’s time to see your general doctor.

Signs and Symptoms

Most people develop symptoms within 3-30 days after being bitten. Symptoms can range in type and severity. The most common symptom is a bullseye-like rash, known as erythema migrans. This appears in the majority of people with Lyme disease and the rash may expand or be warm to the touch (it should not be painful). Of course, the rash’s appearance can vary from person to person. If you notice a rash that has a bullseye-like appearance, it is always best to play it safe and to see your general doctor for an evaluation.

Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

If Lyme disease isn’t properly treated, more advanced symptoms of the disease include:

  • Stiff neck
  • Dizziness
  • Arthritis
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Drooping on one side of the face
  • Severe swelling in the joints, often the knees

Most people don’t realize they’ve been bit by a tick, which makes it challenging to know whether or not your symptoms could be due to Lyme disease or another illness. After all, most people won’t find a tick on their skin, they’ll simply have a small mark left behind by the bite; however, ticks can stay on the skin for up to three days. This is why it’s important to check yourself, especially if you’ve spent time outdoors in areas where there are ticks. The sooner you can see a doctor and get treated for Lyme disease the better for your health.

Don’t ignore any symptoms that are characteristic of Lyme disease. If you are concerned about your symptoms or about the likelihood of developing Lyme disease, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor about testing.

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