What You Should Know About Lyme Disease

group hiking  300x200 What You Should Know About Lyme Disease PhotoWhile Lyme disease can be a concern year round, ticks are most active in warmer months. This year, experts are warning that more ticks are carrying viruses, including Powassan virus and Lyme Disease. As we are all spending more time outside, here’s what you should know about Lyme disease.

Lyme disease, also called Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection that can cause flu-like symptoms, rash, muscle and joint pain, and nerve or heart problems. People become infected with Lyme disease when they are bitten by a very small, black-legged tick that is carrying the infection. 

Ticks that spread Lyme disease are typically found in wooded areas in tall grass and low bushes. Most cases of Lyme disease occur in certain areas of the United States: northeastern states from Virginia to Maine; north-central states, mostly Wisconsin and Minnesota; and on the west coast, particularly in northern California.

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses, like the flu. The only unique feature of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash, but the rash does not occur in all cases. To diagnose Lyme disease, doctors perform a physical exam and ask many questions about your medical history, symptoms, if you remember a tick bite, your outdoor activities, and if you’ve been to an area where Lyme disease is common.

While heading outside, take precautions to protect yourself and your pets from tick bites with these tips from the Centers for Disease Control. Learn more about diagnosis, treatment, and the questions to ask your doctor with our Lyme disease care guide.