What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infection that’s spread through infected tick bites. Although most people who get tick bites don’t get Lyme disease, it’s still important to see your doctor if you notice one. While the disease is most common in the United States, it can also be found in Canada, Europe, and Asia.
An unexplained rash can be disconcerting all on its own, but when it’s accompanied by headaches, sore muscles, and fever, it can be downright nerve-racking. Lyme disease is an incredibly common infection in the United States, and it’s not just those who spend their time outdoors that can get it.
If you have Lyme disease, you may notice a red rash that spreads outward in a circle from where the tick bit you. As more time passes without treatment, the rash will get larger and larger. Symptoms of Lyme disease in the early stages include: headaches, sore muscles, and fever. However, if left untreated, you may begin to experience more serious symptoms, such as:
- Swelling joints
- Tingling in hands, feet, and back
- Lack of energy
- Lack of focus
- Weakness or paralysis in the face
Because you usually get tick bites when you are engaged in physical activity, you might be too distracted to realize you’ve gotten one.
How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
Dr. Petersen talks with you about your symptoms, takes your medical history, and performs a physical examination of your body. He may ask you questions about your recent activities to help determine whether a recent tick bite is likely or not.
He performs highly extensive lab tests, including an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, which can detect whether certain antibodies are present. These antibodies could indicate the presence of Lyme disease. Once you have been diagnosed, Dr. Petersen will begin treatment.
Treatment for Lyme disease consists of antibiotics, which typically cure the disease within three weeks.
How can I prevent Lyme disease?
The best method for preventing Lyme disease is avoiding tick bites. When you venture outside, cover your body as much as possible: wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants tucked into your socks. Use bug repellant and check your pets for ticks, as they sometimes track them into the house.
If you believe you may have Lyme disease, contact Andrew Petersen, DO, at WholeHealth with locations in Provo and West Jordan, Utah. Dr. Petersen is a leading expert on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme.