Lyme disease is easy to forget about, but if you live in the countryside then it’s perfectly possible you will contract it. Every year, up to three million people develop the disease in the United States, and a large amount of people suffering from it never realized they had actually developed it.
Lyme disease is spread through ticks, the small insects that penetrate the skin and cling on. The disease comes from Borrelia burgdorferi which is found in many of these ticks. If you’re not sure what you need to be looking out for, take a look at these top 10 signs that you may already have Lyme disease.
1. You have flu-like symptoms
One of the common symptoms of Lyme disease is feeling like you have a flu. This means that you’ll begin suffering from a runny nose, fevers, chills, and shaking. All the symptoms you associate with the flu can also indicate that you are in the early stages of Lyme disease and it’s at this point that you should go and see a doctor.
Many people will simply brush off the conditions and take medication bought over the counter, but if you can catch the disease at this stage, it’s far simpler to treat.
2. You have a stiff neck
If your neck is sore and you have the above-mentioned flu-like symptoms, it’s possible that you have developed Lyme disease. A stiff neck is a really common indicator of having recently contracted the disease. The reason it begins is because of the infection traveling around the body and if you find yourself with this pain, it’s important to get checked right away.
On top of the above two symptoms, headaches will usually begin when you are in the early stages of developing the condition. A checkup is essential at this stage, your doctor will be able to provide you with treatment that is more effective the sooner after you contract the disease.
One of the signature symptoms of Lyme disease that most people have heard about is fatigue. This symptom occurs later on in the disease and is actually known as ‘post-Lyme syndrome’. It is far more than just feeling tired – it makes the muscles completely incapable of moving.
Along with the fatigue, the individual will suffer great pain in their muscles, bones, and joints.
This symptom is more common during the early stages of the disease and it includes the swelling of the muscles, joints, and anywhere else in the body. The effect occurs as the body tries to protect itself from the bacteria that has invaded. Swelling is a natural response to many conditions and, as time goes by, the individual will find that the swelling can get worse and worse.
Not only that but the pain involved with it can also get worse, making it almost unbearable. At this stage you should definitely see a doctor.
6. Heart problems
If you have heart problems and your family doesn’t have a history of it, this could be an indicator that you have Lyme disease and simply haven’t realized it yet. This is far less common than other symptoms, but in some cases an irregular heartbeat can actually suggest that you have Lyme disease and left it untreated for a long period of time.
If you have an irregular heartbeat, there’s no need to assume that you have Lyme disease – but you should of course go ahead with all the tests that your doctors want you to go ahead with.
7. Muscle numbness
Muscle numbness occurs even during the early stages of Lyme disease making it difficult to move and creating either a numbness or a tingling feeling in muscles all over the body. Another common complaint is that the individual has shooting pains that go from the top of the leg to the bottom.
These symptoms are worrisome whether you have Lyme disease or not, so be sure to speak to your doctor as soon as you start experiencing these kinds of serious symptoms.
8. Bull’s eye rash
The bull’s eye rash is the first sign of Lyme disease, and it occurs around the region that the tick originally embedded itself into the skin. There are lots of ways that this rash might appear, with the first being the obvious bull’s eye shape, with a blistering lesion in the middle and surrounding circles of redness. Some lesions may have a uniform red color, others may be disseminated and others may appear blue-red. The thing to look out for is a large circular rash that appears dark red.
9. Facial drooping
This is one of the most serious symptoms of Lyme disease and is pretty uncommon, but it’s important to know about nonetheless. This symptom includes the dropping of the face, where muscles stop working and you find it difficult to speak. Some individuals have experienced this symptom, known as facial palsy, to the extent that it resembles a stroke. This is of course something very serious and something you should go straight to hospital about should you begin experiencing it.
10. You’ve been bitten by a tick and feel unwell
Finally, if you are bitten by a tick and you are feeling unwell, you should go straight to the doctor. Your doctor will be able to figure out whether you are at danger of developing Lyme disease and will be able to take measures to tackle it as effectively as possible. Go straight to a health care professional and you have the best chance of battling the condition.