Had I Known The Lyme Disease Symptoms Earlier, I'd Have Avoided Complications
Lyme Disease Symptoms and Complications
What Are the Early Symptoms of Lyme Disease?
The most common feature of localized Lyme disease is a slowly expanding skin lesion or rash known as erythema migrans (EM). This rash usually develops 3 to 30 days (7 days on average) after the disease-transmitting tick bite.
Erythema migrans is the earliest sign of the disease in about 70 percent of Lyme disease cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ()
There are certain characteristics that can help identify erythema migrans:
- It begins as a flat or slightly raised red spot at the site of the tick bite, and can expand to become a round rash up to 73 centimeters (28.7 inches) across.
- It can appear on any area of the body (at the bite site) but most frequently shows up on the lower limbs, buttocks, and groin in adults, and on the head and neck in children.
- A clear ring may appear around the center of the rash, giving it a bull's-eye-like appearance (a central circle with a clear ring around it, surrounded by a larger rash).
- It may be warm to the touch, though rarely painful or itchy.
While the classic Lyme disease rash has a bull's-eye shape, not all cases of erythema migrans look the same. The patient may develop a red, expanding lesion with a crusting of the skin at the center; multiple red lesions; red, oval-shaped plaques; or a bluish rash. (4)
In addition to erythema migrans, people with localized Lyme disease may experience flu-like symptoms, including fever and chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pains, a general ill feeling (malaise), and swollen lymph glands.
“Lyme disease can cause a sharp increase in pain and a lot of swelling in the joints,” says Joseph Ciotola, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. “It can also make you feel extra-tired.”
About 20 percent of people with Lyme disease don't experience any symptoms other than erythema migrans.
Video: How to Recognize Symptoms of Lyme Disease
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