It may start off looking like a normal mosquito bite, but it could soon turns into a bullseye-like rash. You might start to experience sore joints, fatigue and a fever. If you recently took a trip into the woods, your first suspicion may be Lyme disease—and for good reason!
Lyme disease is on the rise in the United States, as changes in environment and ecology push animals carrying infected ticks both north and west. If your summer plans include camping, hiking or fishing, you might want to take some of the following precautions:
- Use bug repellent with a high percentage of deet in it.
- Take a shower right after you’ve been in the woods.
- Perform tick checks on yourself, your family members and your pets.
- Remove any ticks you find.
- Place your clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill off any ticks.
Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- A bullseye-like rash or a bright red ring.
- A mosquito-like bite.
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, sweat, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and sore joints.
- Migraines, severe headaches or neck stiffness.
- Bell’s palsy, or weakness in the facial muscles.
- Fainting, shortness of breath, heart palpitations or chest pains.
- Pain and swelling in large joints.
- Shooting pains that keep you from sleeping.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. There are medications that can halt Lyme disease, but if it’s left untreated it can lead to long-term side effects.
Sometimes, the symptoms of Lyme disease don’t go away for several months; if this occurs, it doesn’t automatically mean you have chronic Lyme disease. Consulting your doctor is always the best initial course of action.