Lyme disease is caused by a bacterial organism that is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected tick. Most people bitten by an infected tick develop a characteristic skin rash around the area of the bite. The rash may feel hot to the touch, and vary in size, shape, and color, but it will often have a “bull’s eye” appearance (a red ring with a clear center). However, there are those who will not develop the rash, which makes Lyme disease hard to diagnose because its symptoms and signs mimic those of many other diseases.
Seven to 10 days following an infected tick’s bite, the first stage of Lyme disease begins with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain.
Neurological complications most often occur in the second stage of Lyme disease, with numbness, pain, weakness, Bell’s palsy (paralysis of the facial muscles), visual disturbances, and meningitis symptoms such as fever, stiff neck, and severe headache. Other problems, which may not appear until weeks, months, or years after a tick bite, include decreased concentration, irritability, memory and sleep disorders, and nerve damage in the arms and legs.
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics under the supervision of a physician. Most individuals with Lyme disease respond well to antibiotics and have full recovery. In a few patients symptoms of persisting infection may continue or recur, requiring additional antibiotic treatment. Varying degrees of permanent joint or nervous system damage may develop in patients with late chronic Lyme disease. In rare cases, some individuals may die from Lyme disease and its complications.
Links to Lyme Disease
- American Lyme Disease Foundation: The American Lyme Disease Foundation supports research and plays a key role in providing reliable and scientifically accurate information to the public and health care provider.
- Lyme Disease Network : The Lyme Disease Network, a non-profit foundation dedicated to public education of the prevention and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. On the Internet since 1994.
- The Lyme Disease Foundation: The Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF) is a nonprofit dedicated to finding solutions for tick-borne disorders. Realizing the ability to find solutions involves a multi-discipline effort, the LDF includes the four cornerstones of progress (businesses, patients, government, and the medical community) to work together to find solutions to tick-borne disorders.
- All about the Lyme Disease Test
- Lyme Disease-A Patient's Guide
- Tick removal-A step by step guide
- Lyme Disease Glossary of terms