2. After a few more weeks, untreated Lyme disease can lead to:
rashes on parts of the body not near the tick bite
slow or irregular heartbeat
problems with the nervous system (brain and spinal cord) including:
damage to a facial nerve that can cause drooping (facial palsy)
numbness in arms or legs
inflammation of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
If Lyme disease goes untreated for months, the earlier symptoms can continue. The
person also can develop arthritis (swollen, painful joints).
Who Gets Lyme Disease?
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of
Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota,
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia,
and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia,
and Australia too.
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?
It can be hard for doctors to diagnose Lyme disease because:
The tick bites and rash might not be noticed.
Many early symptoms seem like the
flu or other illnesses.
Blood tests are not always accurate, especially early in the illness.
Doctors can diagnose early Lyme disease if they see a tick bite and rash. Blood
tests usually aren't helpful in the first month of Lyme disease.
To diagnose late Lyme disease, doctors:
Ask about symptoms.
Do blood tests that look for signs of Lyme disease.
Depending on the symptoms, doctors might order other tests, such as a spinal
tap, which looks at the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated?
Treatment depends on the stage of Lyme disease.
Treatment for early Lyme disease is antibiotics
taken by mouth for 10–14 days. Someone with late Lyme disease needs antibiotics
for a longer period, either taken by mouth or through an IV
What Is Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome?
Post-Lyme disease syndrome (also known as chronic Lyme disease) is when someone
with Lyme disease still has symptoms after treatment with antibiotics. The symptoms
are most likely caused by an autoimmune response. This is when the body's germ-fighting
immune system attacks the
body's own cells.
Most people with post-Lyme disease syndrome usually get better with time, but it
can take months to feel well again.
Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented?
Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can help protect
your family from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure
Stay in the middle of the trail, instead of going through high grass or the woods.
Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs
into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.