Lyme disease is a common illness in the United States. The number of cases is especially large in the summer, when people are going outside more and coming into contact with the ticks that may spread the disease.
As common as this illness is, though, it is often misdiagnosed. The early symptoms of Lyme disease are very similar to other illnesses, like the flu. This makes it hard to treat, because oftentimes, the doctor is prescribing medication for the wrong disease.
So how do you know if Lyme disease is the right disease to treat for?
You can start by taking a short quiz at Lymedisease.org. While it is no substitute for a visit to the doctor’s office, it will help you to figure out if your elder loved one is suffering from any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, and at what stage the illness could be in if they are.
Some of the symptoms include:
Rash – The most common, telltale sign of Lyme disease is the trademark bullseye rash that appears around the site where the tick bit the skin. It will look like a small red circle with a big red ring around it that expands out to form an even bigger circle. This can appear anywhere on the body, but pay careful attention to the legs and ankle areas, as this is usually the first place a tick comes to when it is climbing up the body.
Weakness of facial muscles – Weakness in the facial nerves (also known as Bell’s palsy) can be a sign of Lyme disease. This causes the face to droop or become paralyzed, and it is a sign that there is something serious going on. It looks very similar to one of the main signs of a stroke, so if you or your elder care aide notices this symptom, seek help as soon as possible.
Flu symptoms – These are some of the things that mislead diagnosticians the most. Many people with Lyme disease experience tiredness, fever, and aching muscles, just as they would if they had the flu or another common ailment. If your elder loved one is having these symptoms, don’t assume it is the flu if your loved one has recently been in an area where ticks live.
Dizziness, lightheadedness – Again, this is a symptom common to many different health problems, and should never be disregarded. But, in this case, dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting could all be signs pointing to Lyme disease from a tick bite.
Joint pain and swelling – Another tricky one. Joint pain and swelling are hallmarks of arthritis, which your elder loved one could already have. But if they don’t (or if they do, and their symptoms suddenly get worse), and they begin to have swelling in their joints, they could be experiencing a side effect of Lyme disease instead.
Remember that Lyme disease is a tricky illness that has fooled even some of the most decorated medical professionals. If your elder loved one has been in a place where ticks are present, you and their elder care aide should never discount this possibility as the reason behind any medical issues they are having.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Lake Forest IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.