Lyme Disease Stages

Lyme Disease is an illness you could contract from black-legged (also called deer) ticks. By now you have probably heard at least one horror story about the disease, which can be contracted in the following areas of the United States:

  • The West Coast (especially Northern California)
  • North-central states, such as Wisconsin and Minnesota
  • Northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions (spanning from Maine to Northeastern Virginia)

You can access the Center for Disease Control’s map of highly endemic areas here. A deer tick has to be attached to you for a minimum of 24 hours in order to be able to infect you with Lyme disease; while this may be encouraging information, it is still important to regularly check yourself for ticks if you live in or are visiting an endemic part of the United States.

If you have been bitten by a tick, you should first remove the tick with fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you can. Then, you should monitor yourself, and immediately see a doctor if you begin to feel ill within the first few weeks of being bitten.

The Global Lyme Alliance lists the stages of Lyme Disease on its website:

Stage 1: Early Localized (aka acute) Disease

The first stage of Lyme Disease could begin as early as a few hours after exposure to the disease. These can also occur within a few days or weeks as well. During Stage 1, the infection has yet to spread throughout the body, and is the easiest to treat and cure. Symptoms could include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • A skin rash that could look like a bull’s eye (also called erythema migrans)
  • A flu-like illness that includes fever and chills
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle soreness
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme

This stage could occur several weeks or months after contracting Lyme Disease. By now, bacteria have started to spread throughout the body. Symptoms may include:

  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in vision
  • Pain, numbness, or weakness in the arms and legs
  • Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis)
  • Heart problems like chest pain and palpitations
  • Rash

Stage 3: Late Disseminated Disease

This stage could occur weeks, months, and sometimes even years after a tick bite. It develops if Lyme isn’t quickly or effectively treated during its previous two stages. By now, the Lyme bacteria have spread throughout the body. Signs could include:

  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Arthritis in joints or near the infection point
  • Severe migraines or headaches
  • Sleep disturbance such as insomnia
  • A stiff, aching neck
  • Pains that migrate and appear/disappear in the joints and tendons
  • Concentration issues
  • Mental fogginess
  • Disturbances in heart rhythm
  • Severe fatigue
  • Problems processing information, such as following conversations
  • Numbness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet

An Ezra full-body scan could identify signs of Lyme Disease in the brain. If you’re interested in learning more about our screening options and payment plans, you may do so here.