What Are the Early Signs of Lyme Disease?

Santiago Urquijo/Moment/Getty Images

Early symptoms of Lyme disease may include a rash around the site of the tick bite and flu-like symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include severe joint pain and swelling and neurological problems, including, but not limited to, paralysis and impaired muscle movement.

Some people develop some less common symptoms of Lyme disease. As a result of a tick bite, some develop hepatitis, eye inflammation, heart problems, such as irregular heartbeat, and severe fatigue. These symptoms will typically develop several weeks after the bite is received.

Treatment for Lyme disease must be started early to be completely effective. After sustaining a tick bite, it is very important to remove the entire tick within 36 hours. The bacteria will usually not affect a person if the tick is removed within this amount of time, according to Mayo Clinic.

To test for Lyme disease, a doctor will first ask whether a tick was present on the body and for how long. If he suspects the disease, he may run an enzyme-linked immunosorbent test, Western blot test or polymerase chain reaction test to come to a diagnosis.

Treatment options for Lyme disease include oral antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or cefuroxime, or intravenous antibiotics for up to 28 days.