Lyme disease, caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, is a tick-borne illness that affects humans and animals alike. The disease is prevalent in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States, as well as in parts of Europe and Asia.

The symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and a characteristic “bull’s-eye” rash. However, not everyone with Lyme disease develops a rash, and sometimes the symptoms can be mild and easily overlooked.

Unfortunately, if left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to more serious long-term health problems, such as arthritis, heart problems, and nerve damage. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a tick or are experiencing symptoms of the disease.

Prevention is key when it comes to Lyme disease. Avoiding tick bites is the best way to protect yourself from infection. When spending time in wooded or grassy areas, wear long sleeves and pants. Use insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin. Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, and promptly remove any that you find.

If you do develop Lyme disease, treatment typically involves a course of antibiotics. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the disease from becoming chronic and causing long-term health problems. So be vigilant, stay safe, and enjoy the great outdoors!