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Somehow, you’ve managed to make it through the entire summer without mosquito bites or tick bites, but you’ve recently noticed a large red bump on your leg following your hike from last weekend.  

Most people who are treated for Lyme right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.  But if you’re not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme disease can be more difficult to treat.

Every person reacts to the Lyme bacteria differently.  Here are some common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.

Rashes

The signature rash of a Lyme tick bite has a bull’s-eye appearance, with a central red spot, surrounded by a clear circle with a wide, red circle on the outside.  The initial red rash usually appears at the site of the bite between 3-30 days, while some smaller rashes can appear a few weeks later. The rash usually signals that the infection is spreading within your skin tissues.  

Fatigue

Even if you don’t have the infamous bull’s eye rash, you might experience flu-like symptoms, including fatigue.  Tiredness and lack of energy are the most frequent symptoms, feeling the need to nap during the day, or needing to sleep one or more hours than usual.  Sometimes Lyme-related fatigue can be disabling.

Headaches and Fever

Other common flu-like symptoms of Lyme include headaches, dizziness, muscle pain, and fever, with symptoms sometimes evident within a week of infection.  Because your symptoms are low-level, you may not think of Lyme as a cause, but in one study featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, 48% of adults with Lyme, reported headaches as the most common symptoms.

Stiff or Swollen Joints

You may think your swollen or stiff joints are due to age, genetics, or even sports, but it could also be an early sign of Lyme disease if you were recently bit.  Your joints may be inflamed, warm to the touch, painful and swollen. You may also feel stiff and have limited range of motion.

Cognitive Decline and Neurological Problems

There are many kinds and degrees of cognitive disturbances, and they can be scary.  You may notice that you have difficulty concentrating at school or work. Your memory may have lapses that weren’t there before like not being able to remember a familiar name.  You may forget how to get to familiar places, or you might visit a store to shop and forget what it was that you went there for. You might also feel off balance, or less coordinated with movements such as not being able to walk in a straight line, or not able to perform in a sport you’ve played for years.  You might at first, but these declines may cause you some concern.

What should you do if you think you have Lyme disease?

If you have some of the signs and symptoms of Lyme, you should seek immediate medical attention. At AFC Urgent Care Norwalk, we can evaluate your symptoms and recommend further treatment.  Our on-site lab allows us to quickly diagnose your symptoms to start you on a treatment plan. For more information about tick bites and Lyme disease, please call us at 203-845-9100.