Prevalent in many parts of North Carolina, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the bite of a tick and can result in serious complications. Antibiotics are typically effective against Lyme disease, and early intervention increases the chances of full recovery. Unfortunately, doctors may initially misdiagnose Lyme disease, potentially delaying treatment.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the early symptoms of Lyme disease can mimic viral infections, such as influenza or mononucleosis. These include body aches, headache, fatigue, fever and chills. One of the clearest signs of Lyme disease infection is a rash at the sight of the initial tick bite. This often has the appearance of a bull’s-eye, with a light-colored area in the middle surrounded by a ring of redness. However, the rash is not always present. When there is no rash, it can be easier to mistake Lyme disease for another condition.

Furthermore, Lyme disease is not the only illness that is transmissible by the bite of a tick. If you experience symptoms after a tick bite, your doctor may need to perform lab tests to either rule out or confirm Lyme disease infection.

Lyme disease can result in more serious symptoms if left untreated. These include neurological effects, including the following:

  • Impaired muscle movement
  • Limb numbness or weakness
  • Temporary paralysis
  • Meningitis

Additionally, you may experience severe pain and swelling of the knees or other joints. If you have a rash at the site of the initial tick bite, it can grow bigger or spread to other areas of your body. These symptoms can develop weeks or months after infection.

You can prevent Lyme disease by promptly removing any ticks that you find on your body. If the tick has had contact with you for less than 36 to 48 hours, infection is unlikely. It is usually not necessary to see a doctor for a tick bite unless you develop symptoms thereafter.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.