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What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease

Oh no! Poor Parker Posey has been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Due to her illness, the 40-year-old star of Best in Show is dropping out of her planned off-Broadway play, This. We wish her the best for a speedy recovery.

Posey certainly isn't alone. Lyme disease affects about 20,000 people in the United States each year, versus 10,000 new cases annually in the early '90s. Transmitted by blacklegged ticks, called deer ticks, in the eastern US and western blacklegged ticks on the West Coast, Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. Not every tick transmits Lyme disease, just the ones that have fed on infected animals. Learn how to recognize the symptoms and prevent Lyme disease when you


If you are bitten by a tick, you may not feel it. So keep an eye out for these symptoms if you've been outdoors:

  • A bull's eye-like skin rash, such as the one shown here. It may start as a small spot and expand into a purplish circle over a few days.
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches

Most cases can be cured quickly with antibiotics, but some patients will later develop neurological complications, such as Bell's palsy. So be sure to protect yourself from ticks whenever you're outdoors by covering your skin with long sleeves and socks, and use plenty of bug spray. Don't forget to have a friend check you for ticks when you get home.

Have you ever had a tick or contracted Lyme disease?

Image Source: WireImage
Renee3327 Renee3327 8 years
I contracted Lyme disease a few years ago and it was the sickest I have ever felt. Another thing to be careful of is mis-diagnosis. I went to the hospital with a bull's eye rash and the doctor told me that it was unlikely that it was Lyme and only gave me 4 days of standard antibiotics (which would not have been enough to completely knock the infection out of my system). Luckily, I sought out a second opinion of an infectious disease specialist. I never actually tested positive for the disease, which is very common, but based on my rash and symptoms they were able to diagnose me and start the proper treatment. It still took months for me to feel 100% again.
Vanonymous Vanonymous 8 years
I've found ticks on me a couple of times. In New England, it's pretty common. If the tick is still on you, you should remove it and bring it to a pest control company. They will tell you what type of a tick it is. If it is a deer tick, you definitely want to keep an eye on it. Mine weren't deer ticks.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
I have known several people who contacted Lyme disease. It's not uncommon in Pa. Most people were okay after a treatment of antibiotics. My doctor recommends that when I find ticks on me, that I put them in a jar and keep it just in case I would have problems or suspect the tick. I'm a little fearful because my friend's little brother got it and it wasn't detected until late stage and he was very ill and was hospitalized for awhile because of all the neurological problems he was having. As far as I know, he is fine now but for awhile he was very, very ill. On a similar note - dogs/cats need tick prevention like Frontline or something similar. I had my dogs on it and faithfully applied it every month and my one dog still managed to contract lyme disease. All the sudden, he was very ill - couldn't do steps, wouldn't want to move, his joints swelled up, and he would limp terribly - alternating which shoulder hurt him. The test at the vet came back negative for Lyme's but she suspected it was a different strain than what the vet's blood test could detect and we sent his blood away to a special lab and sure enough he had a rare strain of Lyme's disease. He spent 45 days on antibiotics and seems to be in the clear although it's not unheard of for dogs to relapse with symptoms periodically. My vet recommends applying flea/tick meds every two weeks during tick season since my dogs have double coats. Even doing that, I just pulled a tick off my dog's paw the other day. The vet says as many as 80% of dogs she sees contract Lyme at some point in their life. Of course that statistic is only relevant to where I live, but still is food for thought.
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