You might contract Lyme disease while walking outside, but the disease itself is certainly no walk in the park.
Just ask any of the 30,000 people who are diagnosed with it every year, according to the CDC.
One of the main problems with detecting Lyme disease, is that many of the symptoms tend to fly under the radar. In fact, they can feel like the byproduct of a busy lifestyle.
It’s completely normal to brush off feeling a little under the weather as being no big deal. Admittedly, most of the time, feeling a little unwell is no big deal.
However, Lyme disease and the nerve damage it can cause is a big deal, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms, especially if you live in the northeast or upper midwest, where most cases of Lyme occur.
Alone, some of these symptoms might be nothing to worry about, but any combination could definitely mean trouble.
Make sure to look out for the following symptoms this summer:
What Is Lyme Disease?
You probably know that Lyme disease comes from ticks, but what exactly is it?
The CDC explains that the disease is spread through a bite by a tick carrying bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi.
The condition can cause a multitude of symptoms, which can be hard to pin down because they resemble other common illnesses and conditions, like flu or arthritis.
Lyme Disease Symptom #1: Bull’s-Eye Rash
During the summertime, bug bites are nothing to get too concerned about.
However, if your bite spreads and becomes clear in the middle, then it’s a sign of Lyme disease.
According to the CDC, this kind of rash is called erythema, and it occurs in around 75% of people who contract Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease Symptom #2: Muscle Aches Or Stiff Neck
You can get a stiff neck from simply sleeping in the wrong position or having a long day.
However, a severely stiff neck is also a symptom of Lyme disease, which causes painful inflammation.
You should consider this a red flag if you experience additional symptoms, don’t have relief after several days, or have recently spent time outside.
Lyme Disease Symptom #3: General Weakness
Since Lyme disease attacks your muscles, it’s normal to feel a little lethargic and generally weak after being bitten by an infected tick.
Again, this is something that can happen to the best of us, even without having Lyme disease, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Normal muscle aches should fade within a few days, Lyme-based aches will linger and feel almost flu-like.
Lyme Disease Symptom #4: Headaches
It’s easy to become dehydrated and get headaches over the summer — or during any time of year for that matter.
However, if you’ve noticed a pattern of severe headaches that are worse or more frequent than usual, you might want to consider it as a symptom of Lyme disease.
If you’re struggling with stubborn headaches that seem to radiate up your neck, see a doctor.
Lyme Disease Symptom #5: Memory Issues
We forget things all the time; it’s part of being human! But sometimes we can be extra forgetful, to the point that it gets in the way of everyday living.
If you’ve noticed that you’ve been extra forgetful lately and can’t quite seem to shake the brain fog, talk to your doctor to see if Lyme might be the cause.
Lyme Disease Symptom #6: Swollen Joints
Muscle or joint pain and swelling is part of getting older, so it’s a common issue.
But make sure not to confuse regular wear and tear with what could be a sign of Lyme. Lyme causes inflammation, which can lead to arthritis-like swelling in the joints.
Lyme Disease Symptom #7: Tingling
Tingling is always scary, but we’ve all had our feet fall asleep before.
However, continued tingling, especially for no apparent reason, is definitely something to be alarmed about.
Nerve symptoms might be linked to Lyme infection, and can also be a symptom of numerous dangerous illnesses, so definitely have a doctor check you out.