The Massachusetts Representative David Linsky issued a report on Lyme disease that affirms that “the occurrence of Lyme disease has reached near epidemic proportions in Massachusetts.”  Even so, many doctors do not recognize the symptoms and often misdiagnose.  Although you can still have Lyme disease without any of these symptoms, here are common symptoms to look for.

Early stage (days to weeks): Rash where the tick was attached. It often, but not always, starts as a small red area that spreads outward, clearing up in the center so it looks like a donut. Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, stiff neck, sore and aching muscles and joints, fatigue and swollen glands may also occur.

Even though these symptoms may go away by themselves, treatment during the early stage prevents later, more serious problems.

Later stages (weeks to years): If untreated, people with Lyme disease can develop late-stage symptoms even if they never had a rash. The joints, nervous system and heart are most commonly affected.

Source: Mass Department of Public Health

Photo:  Friends of the Blue Hills Board member and Milton resident, Denny Swenson, demonstrates to fourth graders how to collect ticks by dragging a white flag on the ground.