Lyme Disease: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

By eMed on 2 min read
Lyme Disease: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by Borrelia bacteria, which are spread by the bite of infected deer ticks. The most commonly reported symptom is a rash that forms in a "bull's-eye" shape, known as erythema migrans. However understanding the full scope of symptoms, treatment options, and prevention is important for staying safe and taking action before further medical complications.


The symptoms of Lyme disease can vary depending on the stage of the infection.

  • Early localized stage (first 30 days)
    • Erythema migrans rash (EM rash): This is the most common symptom of Lyme disease. The rash is usually a single, expanding red circle that starts at the source of the tick bite. The rash can be anywhere from a few inches to several feet in diameter
    • Flu-like symptoms: These symptoms can include mild fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain
    • Treatment is most often recognized and initiated in this stage
  • Early disseminated stage (weeks to months)
    • Multiple EM rashes
    • Facial palsy (Bell's palsy)
    • Heart problems, such as irregular heartbeat (Lyme carditis)
    • Neurological problems, such as numbness, tingling, and weakness
  • Late disseminated stage (months to years)
    • Arthritis, especially in the knees
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Memory problems
    • Cognitive impairment

Not everyone who is infected with Lyme disease will experience symptoms. Some may have only mild symptoms, while others may feel them more severely.

Screening & Treatment

If you think you may have Lyme disease, take action right away. It can be treated with antibiotics, but the sooner treatment is started, the better the outcome. The eMed Lyme Telehealth Kit offers a convenient way to screen for Lyme disease with a live telehealth proctor and get access to a prescription quickly. However, the Telehealth Kit does not contain a test for the infection, as early erythema migrans are treated by the detection of a tick or rash only. If symptoms are more severe or worsen over time, seek immediate in-person medical attention. Left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to serious health complications. Treatment typically involves a course of antibiotics. In combination with rest and plenty of fluids, common treatments may include:

* Doxycycline
* Amoxicillin
* Cefuroxime axetil
* Azithromycin


The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher for those who:
  • Live or spend time in woodland or moorland areas, especially in the northeast
  • Take part in outdoor activities between March and October

However, there are some tips to help prevent Lyme disease:

  • Avoid tick-infested areas, especially during the spring and summer months.
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes when you are in tick-infested areas.
  • Tuck your pants into your socks
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin.
  • If you find a tick on your body, remove it as soon as possible.


You can take certain easy steps to reduce your risk of contracting lyme disease when you are in rural areas or in proximity to wildlife. By adopting simple habits, understanding the symptoms, and screening early, you can effectively minimize your chances of getting infected.

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