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Lyme Disease

 

 
 

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection you get from the bite of an infected tick. The first symptom is usually a rash, which may look like a bull's eye. As the infection spreads, you may have

  • A fever
  • A headache
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • A stiff neck
  • Fatigue

Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose because you may not have noticed a tick bite. Also, many of its symptoms are like those of the flu and other diseases. In the early stages, your health care provider will look at your symptoms and medical history, to figure out whether you have Lyme disease. Lab tests may help at this stage, but may not always give a clear answer. In the later stages of the disease, a different lab test can confirm whether you have it.

Antibiotics can cure most cases of Lyme disease. The sooner treatment begins, the quicker and more complete the recovery.

After treatment, some patients may still have muscle or joint aches and nervous system symptoms. This is called post-Lyme disease syndrome (PLDS). Long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help with PLDS. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PLDS, and most patients do get better with time.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

 

 

 
 
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Illustration of male and female deer ticks

National Institutes of Health

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MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.