11 things to know about Lyme disease that you probably had no idea about

n recent years, many celebrities have opened up about battling Lyme disease, including Yolanda, Anwar, and Bella Hadid, Kelly Osbourne, and Avril Lavigne. But unfortunately, the tick-borne illness is still widely confusing, with patients often struggling for years before being properly diagnosed.

Summer may be ending soon, but ticks are active year round. And since Lyme disease is still so misunderstood, many people think all cases are easily cured with a course of antibiotics. But if left untreated, Lyme disease can develop into what is known as chronic Lyme disease or late-stage Lyme disease.

HelloGiggles spoke with a few Lyme literate experts to get the scoop on the less commonly-known facts about Lyme disease and why it’s a continually growing epidemic.

1What are some less-known symptoms of Lyme disease?

A common misconception with Lyme disease is that when someone is bit by a tick, they quickly see a “bullseye rash” at the site of the tick bite, which they can show to their doctor and receive a standard course of antibiotics for, curing them of the disease. But Lyme (which is known as “the great imitator“) has myriad symptoms, most of which can come and go and are also similar to other conditions, like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or even depression.

Dr. Partha Nandi, leading physician and author of “Ask Dr. Nandi” explained some of the bizarre early-stage Lyme symptoms.

“Symptoms can appear quickly or gradually over time, and they are incredibly varied and can wax and wane. The first physical signs of Lyme infection are often flu-like symptoms – sore throat, headaches, congestion, stiffness, etc. – so many people, including doctors, dismiss the symptoms as the flu or the common cold.”

Dr. Erica Lehman, a California-based physician and tick-borne disease specialist says that as Lyme goes untreated, there are a host of frightening and debilitating symptoms reported by patients, including “swollen glands, light sensitivity, sound and smell sensitivity, heart palpitations, muscle and joint stiffness, psychological manifestations such as depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and suicidal ideations, twitching of muscles, Bell’s palsy, brain fog, forgetfulness, poor short term memory disorientation, word finding problems, tremors, seizures, blurry vision, vertigo, tingling, numbness, stabbing sensations, chronic cough, sweats, weight loss, weight gain, hormone imbalances, poor digestion, changes in bowel habits, chronic yeast infections, and poor immune function.”

Wow. That’s a lot.

Can you catch Lyme disease year round?

Though we’re primarily on high alert for ticks in the summer months, experts agree that we should be vigilant even as the temperatures dip. Dr. Nancy Troyano, entomologist and Director of Technical Education and Training for the family of pest control brands Western Exterminator, Ehrlich, and Presto-X., told HG:

“Ticks can be active all year round. Ticks are cold blooded and so in general, are more active in the warmer weather.  On very cold days, ticks will go into a state of dormancy, called diapause. However, ticks can be active on winter days when the ground temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.”

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