Early signs of Lyme disease include fever, chills, fatigue and muscle aches. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and you’ve been in an area known to have deer ticks, you should call the Infectious Diseases Tropical Medicine and Travel Clinic in Lansdowne, Virginia, for an appointment with specialist Sarfraz Choudhary, MD, FACS, right away. It’s important to treat Lyme disease early because later symptoms can be more severe. Dr. Choudhary has extensive experience diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, which is often difficult to diagnose. Call or make an appointment online.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by an infected blacklegged or deer tick. Lyme disease is more common than you might think, affecting more than 300,000 people a year, although experts suspect the real number is higher since it is often misdiagnosed. It’s important to see a specialist like Dr. Choudhary for an accurate diagnosis and early treatment so the disease does not progress.
Symptoms are wide-ranging and can occur from three to 30 days after a bite. Not all ticks are infected with Lyme disease, so getting a tick bite is not a guarantee that you will develop it. If you did get bitten or spent time outside and you have any of following early Lyme disease symptoms, you should call the Infectious Diseases Tropical Medicine and Travel Clinic for an appointment:
If left untreated, the disease can progress. Later-stage symptoms include:
Because symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to symptoms of other diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, and fibromyalgia, it’s challenging to diagnose accurately and, as a result, is often diagnosed incorrectly. That’s you should see a specialist.
Dr. Choudhary begins with a physical exam and your travel or activity history to determine your possible exposure to ticks. If Dr. Choudhary finds symptoms, he may also do a two-tiered blood test to ensure an accurate diagnosis. The first step tests for certain antibodies. If it’s positive, the second test confirms the diagnosis.
For cases of early Lyme disease, Dr. Choudhary prescribes antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin. A full course of antibiotics (two to three weeks) usually leads to a complete recovery. If the infection is not caught or diagnosed until the later stages of the disease or the early-stage antibiotics were not effective, Dr. Choudhary develops a treatment plan based on your age, medical history, allergies, and other health conditions.
If you think you may have Lyme disease, call or make an appointment online.