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Lyme Disease

Summary

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection you get from the bite of an infected tick. The first symptom is usually a red rash, which may look like a bull's eye. But not all people with Lyme disease have a rash. As the infection spreads to other parts of the body, you may have

  • A fever
  • A headache
  • Body aches
  • A stiff neck
  • Fatigue

Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose because many of its symptoms are like those of the flu and other diseases. And you may not have noticed a tick bite. Your health care provider will look at your symptoms and medical history to figure out whether you have Lyme disease. Lab tests may not always give a clear answer until you have been infected for at least a few weeks.

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-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). Long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help with PTLDS. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS, and most patients do get better with time.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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