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May lyme disease largeYou have probably heard of Lyme disease by now, and you probably think you know a few things about it. But do you really know the truth about this common disease, or have you fallen victim to believing the myths?

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread by infected ticks when they bite you. The symptoms of Lyme disease can be tricky to spot because they are often mistaken for the flu. Symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore muscles and joints
  • A round, red rash at the site of the bite

If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause a wide range of health problems such as:

  • Meningitis
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness and numbness of the arms and legs
  • Memory problems

These health issues can appear months or even years after the initial infection occurs if not treated in the early stages of the disease. For this reason, it is extremely important to catch the disease early.

Now that you have the facts straight, let’s debunk some of those common myths about Lyme disease!

Myth Fact
All ticks carry Lyme disease. Only two types of ticks carry Lyme disease in the U.S.: the deer tick and the Western black-legged tick.
If you have been bitten by a tick with Lyme disease, you will get Lyme disease. It typically takes more than 36 hours for Lyme disease to be transmitted to you through an attached tick, so if you can find and remove the tick from your skin before then, your risk of contracting Lyme disease is low.
You are likely to get Lyme disease anywhere in the U.S. Lyme disease is common in the United States but only in certain areas. Ninety-six percent of all Lyme disease cases occur in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic or north-central United States.
There is no cure for Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be easily treated with antibiotics, and most long-term complications from Lyme disease are the result of not receiving treatment in the early stages of the disease.
You can get Lyme disease from other people. There is no evidence that Lyme disease can be transmitted between people. Often, when two related people get the disease, it is simply because they were bitten by the same tick.
You will start seeing symptoms almost immediately after contracting Lyme disease. It can take anywhere from three days to a month for symptoms to appear, and around 25 percent of cases don’t show symptoms at all.
If there is no rash around the site of the bite, you do not have Lyme disease. While many people with Lyme disease do develop this round, red rash around the site of the tick bite, it does not appear in every case of Lyme disease.

It’s important to get tested for Lyme disease as soon as possible after being bitten by a tick or if symptoms develop. By catching and treating the disease early, you may be saving yourself from a world of health problems, and that’s a fact.