Lyme disease is a major concern here in the US, especially in the summertime. If you’ve been out gallivanting in nature, it’s encouraged that you diligently scour your body for ticks that may have latched on while you were in the great outdoors. This is because blacklegged ticks living in many parts of the US can transmit Lyme disease if they’ve been attached to you for 24 hours or more.
If you contract Lyme, symptoms you may exhibit could vary depending on how long you’ve had it.
Within a month of being infected, you could experience:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Body aches
- Stiffness in the neck
- Erythema migrans (an expanding rash that sometimes appears similar to a bull’s-eye)
If you’ve had untreated Lyme disease for a few weeks or months, you could experience:
- Joint swelling
- Joing pain
- Erythema migrans
- Neurological issues such as numb/weak limbs, meningitis, impaired muscular movement, and Bell’s Palsy
Some of the less common signs of Lyme include:
- Intense fatigue
- Eye inflammation
- Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat
If you find a tick on you, however, you could take medication as a prophylactic measure in an attempt to prevent the development of Lyme in your body. But will it work in preventing the disease?
The CDC says that the benefits of taking the appropriate dose of the antibiotic doxycycline could outweigh its risks if all of the following criteria are met:
- The tick was attached for 36 hours or more
- The prophylactic dose is initiated within 72 hours of removing the tick
- The tick can be identified as a blacklegged tick
- Doxycycline isn’t contraindicated
- Lyme is common in the state where the tick bite occurred
However, everyone’s situation is different, and it’s important to consult your healthcare provider if you get bitten by a tick to see what your best options are.