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Blog / Lyme disease

Lyme Disease: What Happens if Left Untreated?

Jul. 26 2019 by Sheherzad Raza Preisler Blog Editor, PR, & Social Media Coordinator
Lyme Disease: What Happens if Left Untreated?

Lyme disease is a hazardous illness that could seriously affect your life, especially if it’s left untreated. Earlier this week, we published a handful of useful fast facts on the disease, as well as the CDC’s recommendation on whether or not you should take a prophylactic dose of antibiotics if you’ve been bitten by a tick. But what happens if a case of Lyme is left untreated? 

According to the CDC, untreated Lyme can lead to a variety of symptoms that vary based on the stage the infection is currently at. 

Signs of Lyme that pop up between 3-30 days after being bitten by a tick may include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Joint/muscle aches
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash: this is a rash that breaks out in about 70-80 percent of those infected with lyme, and begins at the site of a tick bite after being delayed for 3-30 days (but generally begin after an average of 7 days). Over a span of a few days, the rash gradually expands, eventually growing to be 12 inches or more across. And as it grows, it often clears, leading to it looking like a “target” or “bull’s eye.” While it’s rarely painful or itchy, an EM rash could feel warm to the touch.

Signs of Lyme that appear days to months after being bitten by a tick could include:

  • New EM rashes on other body parts
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Nerve pain
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Shooting pain in the hands or feet
  • Brain or spinal cord inflammation
  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Facial palsy (droop or loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of one’s face)
  • Irregular heartbeat, or heart palpitations
  • Episodic shortness of breath or dizziness
  • Intermittent pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, and bones

The CDC says that if you exhibit any of the above symptoms and have been bitten by a tick in an area known to have Lyme disease, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Furthermore, an Ezra MRI scan of the brain could pick up signs of Lyme in the brain. If you’re interested in learning more, you can do so by following this link.