Four types of bacteria cause Lyme disease. Borrelia mayonii and Borrelia burgdorferi are common in the United States whereas Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii affect Asian and European regions. An infected black-legged tick, also known as a deer tick, can transmit the bacteria through saliva. If you live near heavily grassy or wooded areas or spend time outdoors where ticks are prevalent, you have a greater chance of getting bit.
If a tick bites you, you may notice a small, red bump at the site. While it may last for several days, this is normal and not a sign of Lyme disease. The infected tick has to attach and feed for at least 36 hours to spread the bacteria. Lyme disease occurs in three stages. The symptoms start out mild but can get progressively worse and lead to serious problems if not treated. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of Lyme disease.
1. A Rash
The first sign of Lyme disease is a rash. It can appear anywhere from three days up to a month after a tick bite. The average amount of time before a rash appears is around a week. Over time, the rash can expand up to a foot (12 inches or 30 centimeters) in diameter. As it enlarges, the rash may become clear and create a ‘bull’s-eye’ target. Although some people do not have this symptom of Lyme disease, about 80 percent of infected persons experience a rash. Medically known as Erythema migrans (EM), it might be warm to the touch, but not painful or itchy. It can appear anywhere on your body. In some cases, more than one EM can develop.