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A reader recently asked us to provide some information about the symptoms of Lyme Disease and the parasite that causes it. She didn’t provide any context with this question, so we don’t know if she thinks she might have Lyme Disease, or if she is just curious and interested in this topic. Before we continue with this post, we want to stress that we are not medical professionals. We cannot provide medical advice or a medical diagnosis based on symptoms. Therefore, if our reader thinks she has Lyme Disease (or if she is concerned about her health in any sense) we encourage her to see a doctor immediately!
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme Disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. Humans can contract Lyme Disease if they are bitten by infected Ixodes scapularis ticks. The symptoms of Lyme Disease include fatigue, fever, headache, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. Lyme Disease is often diagnosed by the presence of symptoms, the rash, and possible exposure to infected ticks. Once diagnosed, most cases of Lyme Disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of prescribed antibiotics. However, if left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
According to the CDC article on Lyme Disease transmission, in most cases the infected tick must be attached to the human for 36-48 hours (or more) before the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium can be transmitted. Most humans infected with Lyme Disease are bitten by immature ticks, or nymphs, during the spring and summer months. Their minuscule size make them difficult to see and feel. Therefore, it is important to check for ticks, especially in hidden areas like armpits, the groin, and scalp after spending time outdoors.
In conclusion, this post provides some information about Lyme Disease for a curious reader. If our reader thinks she might have Lyme disease or is worried about her health in any way, we encourage her to see a medical professional as soon as possible.