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Lyme Disease (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Seek immediate medical attention if you live in or have visited an area where Lyme disease is common and you experience a flulike illness or develop a red or target-like rash anytime from late spring to early fall. Prompt treatment at this stage reduces the risk of further symptoms of Lyme disease.

  • Remove any attached ticks by pulling them off you. Removing them promptly is more important than how you remove them. If you cannot remove an attached tick, see your doctor, who will remove it.
  • Following removal of a tick, you should see a doctor if any flulike symptoms or rash develop within the next three weeks. If a rash develops, draw a line around it with ink which does not wash off (Magic Marker or Sharpie) each day to see if it is growing.
  • Young children with fever and severe headache should see a doctor immediately, because these may be their only symptoms.
  • Outdoor workers and anyone whose hobbies or recreational activities place them in wooded or brush areas should be particularly aware of these symptoms because their environmental exposure increases contact with the deer tick.

Lyme disease should be treated promptly; if you cannot see your doctor quickly, go to a hospital's emergency department immediately.

  • When the initial disease is not treated, your symptoms may go away, but additional symptoms of Lyme disease can occur months later.
  • When this happens, Lyme disease can affect your heart, your muscles and joints, or your nervous system. Since these symptoms can occur with other diseases, be sure to tell your doctor about travel to areas with a high tick population or if you have any possible exposures to ticks (from pets, gardening, walking, or camping in wooded areas, etc.).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/6/2014
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Lyme disease is due to infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and the body's immune response to the infection.

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