Lyme disease Symptoms Causes & Treatment
July 02, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Lyme disease Symptoms Causes & Treatment

Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. B. burgdorferi is transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick. This bacterium enters the tick when they bite animals like deer and mice.

Not all the people bitten by ticks get the disease because not all ticks are infected. The following two factors increase the risk of contracting the disease:

1.    The duration of attachment to the body.

2.    The type of tick.

For black-legged ticks, the duration of attachment to the body is said to be 36 to 48 hours. If you remove the tick or ticks within 48 hours, you are less likely to get infected, says Cleveland Clinic infectious disease specialist Alan Taege, MD.

Symptoms of Untreated Lyme disease

The symptoms of Lyme disease may appear 3 to 30 days or months after the bite. The symptoms of the disease have a wide range depending on the stage of the infection. The most common symptoms are mentioned below.

Early signs and symptoms:



      Body aches


      Joint pain

      Muscle pain

      Neck stiffness

      Swollen lymph nodes

      Erythema migrans rash (may appear on any part of the body)

Later signs and symptoms:


      Additional erythema migrans rash

      Impaired muscle movement

      Severe headache

      Severe neck stiffness

      Shortness of breath

      Dizziness and fatigue

      Tingling in hands and feet

      Difficulty in sleeping

      Severe joint pain

      Facial palsy(loss of muscle tone)

      Lyme carditis (irregular heartbeat)

If Lyme disease is untreated, you may develop other, less common signs and symptoms after weeks, months, or even years of the infection, including:


      Irregular heartbeat

      Episodes of severe fatigue

      Inflammation of the eye

Cause of Lyme disease

Young brown ticks are very small and nearly impossible to spot. These ticks carry a bacteria called borrelia burgdorferi, which is the main cause of Lyme disease. When an infected deer tick bites you, the bacteria enter your bloodstream and cause the infection.

Risk factors of Lyme disease

The most common risk factors include:

      Living in heavily wooded areas.

      People having outdoor jobs.

      Having uncovered skin.

      Ticks are not removed properly.

Diagnosis of Lyme disease

The doctor will perform a physical exam to see the redness and severity of the rash. Other tests are also recommended to get a clear picture of the infection. These tests include:

      Polymerase chain reaction: It is performed on joint fluid or cerebrospinal fluid in people with persistent Lyme arthritis or nervous system symptoms.

      Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay: It is used to detect antibodies against B.burgdorferi.

      Western blot: The ELISA is confirmed by western blot.

5 Steps taken to prevent Lyme disease

      Use insect repellent.

      Mow your lawn regularly.

      Wear a long sleeve shirt.

      Remove the tick as soon as possible.

      Wear a hat or gloves when you go to any woody area.

Treatment of Lyme disease

For treating the early stage of Lyme infection, the following antibiotics are prescribed:

      Doxycycline for 10 days to 3 weeks.

      Amoxicillin and cefuroxime for 2 to 3 weeks.

Oral antibiotics are given to patients with symptoms like facial palsy and abnormal heartbeat. But for people with more severe heart and brain problems, intravenous treatment is preferred. Contact Shifa4U online for further information.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.