Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that are transmitted to humans through a deer tick bite. Without early treatment, Lyme disease can have long-term symptoms. Treatment usually involves a course of antibiotics.
The tick bite may produce a tiny, red bump after a few days. Sometimes, however, the bump may not appear until nearly a month after the bite. The bump may feel warm and may be tender to the touch. A rash may spread out around the bite and may be less than 1 inch across or as big as 12 inches across. The rash may look like a bull's-eye. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 70 percent to 80 percent of those infected with Lyme disease will notice bite and rash symptoms.
Along with the rash, many individuals experience symptoms similar to those of the flu. These may include fever, chills, muscle aches, headache and fatigue.
Without proper treatment, Lyme disease can cause severe joint pain and swelling several weeks or months after the tick bite. The pain and swelling may affect different joints of the body intermittently. Often, the knees are affected.
Neurological symptoms may begin weeks, months or even years after an untreated Lyme disease infection. They can include facial paralysis, limb numbness and/or weakness, and problems with muscle movements. Some people may develop meningitis, which is a dangerous swelling of the membranes that surround the brain. Other neurological symptoms that may occur include impaired memory, trouble concentrating and mood imbalance.
Some individuals may have heart problems such as an irregular heartbeat within several weeks of an infectious tick bite. These problems often resolve themselves within a few weeks. Other Lyme disease symptoms include stiff neck, swollen lymph nodes, extreme fatigue, sleeping difficulties, hepatitis and eye inflammation.
- Photo Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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