Lyme Disease Myths Debunked

Posted on January 22, 2016

Lyme disease is a serious disease caused by bacterial infection. It is transmitted through tick bites and often causes headache, fever, fatigue, and a skin rash. In more serious cases, the infection may spread to the central nervous system, heart, or joints, causing dangerous complications. Fortunately, Peconic Bay Medical Center is home to the best Lyme disease doctors in the state. Visit your doctor if you think you may have Lyme disease.

Myth #1. All Ticks Are Carriers of Lyme Disease

Many people mistakenly believe that all ticks carry Lyme disease and become concerned when they are bitten by a tick. In fact, blacklegged ticks, which also go by the name deer ticks, are the only type that cause Lyme disease. Deer ticks are hosts to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause the disease. Even so, not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria, meaning that even a deer tick bite doesn’t mean you’ll develop the disease.

Myth #2. If You Don’t Have a Bullseye Rash, You Don’t Have Lyme Disease

One of the classic symptoms of Lyme disease is a rash that forms a bullseye ring around the location of the tick bite. However, some people never develop this bullseye rash symptom. The rash may form on the scalp, where it is not visible, or may simply not develop it at all. If you have the other symptoms, it is smart to visit a Lyme disease doctor to get checked for the disease.iStock_000033004614_Small.jpg

Myth #3. Lyme Disease Is Incurable

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria, meaning that it is easily treated with antibiotics. For the vast majority of people, Lyme disease disappears after a course of antibiotics. A small number of people develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, characterized by muscle pain, joint aches or memory problems. Research into the best way to treat this syndrome is ongoing.

Myth #4. Lyme Disease Is Best Diagnosed With a Blood Test

The best available blood test for Lyme disease actually assesses the presence of antibodies, a sign that the immune system is fighting the infection. Thus, a blood test isn’t useful during the early stages of the disease, before the body has an opportunity to create those antibodies.

Myth #5. Lyme Disease Is Everywhere in the U.S.

The majority of Lyme disease cases occur in the northeastern and north-central portion of the United States. New York is a hot spot for deer ticks and Lyme disease.

If you have symptoms of Lyme disease, contact our Lyme disease specialists today at Peconic Bay Medical Center’s Tick-Related Disease Center to get treatment.