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What are the Most Common Lyme Disease Effects?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to the body through the bite of certain types of ticks. When discussing the most common Lyme disease effects, it’s important to note each person getting this disease may have slightly different reactions. The presence or lack of presence of a symptom doesn’t indicate wellness or illness, and those who think they have this condition should always seek medical attention.

In early stages, many people are able to suspect they have or will get this condition if they remove a Lyme tick from the body. Those people leaving in areas where the illness is common should have the tick analyzed for presence of Lyme disease. Other people will not notice they got bit by a tick, and for the majority of people the first of the Lyme disease effects is presence of a single bump or rash that sometimes looks like a pimple and may take on a bulls-eye appearance in a few days.

The bulls-eye bump occurs in approximately three-quarters of people with Lyme disease. As the rash grows, it may become very large, with a diameter of as much as a foot (30.48 cm). Some people don’t get a rash this large or prominent.

Deer ticks are largely responsible for the spread of Lyme disease.
Deer ticks are largely responsible for the spread of Lyme disease.

Other Lyme disease effects may start to emerge, then. People often feel symptoms similar to the flu. They may be tired, some people have a fever, and headaches can occur. These symptoms are often accompanied by strong chilly feelings or overall feelings of achiness.

These early Lyme disease effects may progress if the infection is not properly treated. Flu-like achiness could turn into pain that afflicts one or more joints, creating arthritic symptoms. An initial bulls-eye rash can turn into a rash that spreads more profusely over the body. As the infection gets worse, a plethora of other Lyme disease effects may occur.

Headache, fatigue, and joint pain are common symptoms of Lyme disease.
Headache, fatigue, and joint pain are common symptoms of Lyme disease.

Some people develop paralysis symptoms, especially in the face. The infection can migrate to the brain or the spinal cord and cause swelling. Once the brain is affected, folks might experience alterations in mental condition. High incidence of forgetfulness or of strong mood changes and altered perception may occur.

Given the severity of later Lyme disease effects, suspicion that a person has this illness should always be investigated. If a small rash or flu-like symptoms begin to occur a few days after a walk in Lyme tick areas, it’s always wise to mention this to a doctor. Usually it takes a few weeks after infection to confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease, but getting tested and getting appropriate treatment can avoid late stage complications.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent WiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent WiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

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    • Deer ticks are largely responsible for the spread of Lyme disease.
      By: defun
      Deer ticks are largely responsible for the spread of Lyme disease.
    • Headache, fatigue, and joint pain are common symptoms of Lyme disease.
      By: arekmalang
      Headache, fatigue, and joint pain are common symptoms of Lyme disease.
    • Depending on their sex and type, ticks can expand to different sizes when feeding on blood, but deer ticks stay as small as an apple seed when engorged.
      By: Viktor
      Depending on their sex and type, ticks can expand to different sizes when feeding on blood, but deer ticks stay as small as an apple seed when engorged.