Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria. In the United States, this bacteria is Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii. The bacteria is transmitted by the bite of a blacklegged tick also known as the deer tick. The ticks are dark brown, and when young are no bigger than a poppy seed. (Identify your tick) The bacteria enter your skin through the bite and make their way into your bloodstream. If you find an attached tick that looks swollen, it may have fed long enough to transmit bacteria. By removing the tick as soon as possible, you may prevent infection.
In the first few weeks after a tick bite, you may notice a rash. This rash, called a bullseye rash, is highly indicative of infection. This rash is reported to occur in up to 70% of people with Lyme disease. You should see your doctor if you have a rash.
Fatigue, headache and stiff neck are also reported quite frequently. Although some people initially have no symptoms, or mild symptoms, as the disease progresses, memory loss, pain and weakness in the arms and legs are often present. Swelling, joint pain, lack of facial control, tingling of hands and feet are late stage symptoms.
Studies have shown that the earlier the treatment, the less likely the disease is to have long-term complications.
Lyme disease is often called the “Great Imitator,” because it can mimic a number of other conditions including: