Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How does a person get Lyme disease?"
I've been reading about the symptoms online and I think that I might have Lyme disease. I haven't been to the doctor yet so I might just be being paranoid. But how would someone get this disease in the first place? How did I get it if I do end up having it?
Lyme disease, as you may have read online, is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through bites by certain ticks. Lyme disease is very common in certain parts of the United States. For example, in the Northeast the ticks that carry Lyme disease are found everywhere, even in urban areas like parks and greenways. Therefore, if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common, it is easy to get infected; since the ticks are small, you may not even recall having been bitten. Typically the early symptoms of Lyme disease are a spreading red ring on the skin around the tick bite. In a certain percentage of people, if the condition is not caught and treated at this stage, it can go on to cause body-wide symptoms, such as joint pains and swelling. If you are having worrisome symptoms, it is important to go see your primary care doctor right away. If this is Lyme disease, it can be diagnosed with some simple blood tests and treated with antibiotics. Importantly, there are many other conditions which can cause similar symptoms, and for this reason it is important to have a full check up. Go see your doctor as soon as possible!
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