Not all ticks carry Lyme disease-causing bacteria. However, it is imperative to consult a doctor after being bitten by a tick especially if you’re living in areas where Lyme disease cases are not unusual. This is necessary so the doctor could detect if you have caught the bacterium right away before the condition aggravates. Lyme disease is a multi-stage, multi-system bacterial infection. Although it is hard to believe how a little bloodsucker’s bite can damage your health severely, early detection is important. Lyme disease can affect the patient’s joints and skin, and even the major organ systems in the body especially the nervous system.
Lyme Disease Symptom Stages
The symptoms of this bacterial infection occur in three stages. You should remember, however, that not all infected patients will go through all three. Symptoms can vary from patient to patient.
- Stage One - Thirty days after the tick bite, a circular rash called erythema migrans becomes visible. Usually, this rash looks like a bull’s eye in darts. There is a central red spot which is enclosed in clear skin. This clear skin is surrounded by an expanding red rash. Normally, it’s not itchy nor painful. It just looks like an expanding red spot. If you have a darker skin tone, it may not be very visible. Although most patients develop this rash, there are also patients who don’t have it.
- Stage Two - In the next stage, the patient may experience flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, joint inflammation, and swollen lymph nodes. In some patients, these symptoms may disappear on their own even when left untreated. However, most of the time, these symptoms appear within several weeks after being bitten by a tick. Aside from these, the patient may find rashes in other areas of his body.
- Stage Three - The final stage occurs only if the disease was not detected early or treated appropriately. These symptoms can appear and can be experienced by the patient any time from weeks to years after the tick bite. These include memory problems, decreased concentration, confusion, and other cognitive deterioration; behavioral changes such as personality changes and depression; vision changes; nerve conduction defects; and arthritis particularly in the knees and stiff neck.
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