Lyme disease can have many symptoms, ranging from flu-like symptoms in its early stages or, if left untreated, to more serious symptoms affecting the central nervous system, brain or even heart. Learn how to protect yourself, learn what to look for and what to do if you or your child shows signs of Lyme disease.
If you are going camping, fishing or hiking in Lyme disease hot spot areas, you should protect yourself and your children. Wear light-coloured clothing. Try to avoid shrubs or grassy areas (ticks are usually found low to the ground). Wear long sleeves and long pants. For extra protection, tuck your pants into your socks. Use bug repellent containing DEET. Read the manufacturer’s instructions before applying the repellent on yourself or children.
Black-legged ticks are very small and hard to see. They are usually found low to the ground, on tall grass or on shrubs. If you find a tick on yourself, remove with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick away from your skin gently but firmly. If you can, save the tick alive in a jar or screw-top bottle and take it to your health care provider for testing. When pulling the tick off your skin, avoid crushing its body. Clean your skin after with soap and water. Refer to the fact sheet for more information on how to remove a tick.
You may not even notice you have been bitten. A rash that looks like a “bull’s-eye” target may appear after the tick bite. Late manifestations may even occur months to years later.
If you or your children have been bitten by a tick, visit your health care provider to see if you should be tested for Lyme disease. Early treatment with antibiotics is successful in most cases.
A circular rash referred to as a “bull’s-eye” rash could be one of the earliest symptoms of an infection. If you develop a “bull’s-eye” rash, fever, chills or extreme fatigue or feel like you have the flu, see your health care provider. Be sure to tell them if you have been camping, fishing or have been active outdoors.
Bites from ticks infected with Lyme disease may create a bull’s-eye-like rash. The appearance of this rash is a sure sign of a tick bite and you should see your health care provider to be tested for Lyme disease.
If you develop any of these symptoms, it is important to tell your health care provider if you have been camping fishing, hiking or have been active outdoors, particularly in parks and other locations which Lyme disease carrying ticks are known to live.
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