Until recently, Lyme disease was rare in Florida.
Lyme disease is caused by tick bites. It’s usually associated with the wooded areas of New England, where ticks jump from deer to humans.
It’s possible that newer suburbs in Florida and near areas with lots of brush have introduced ticks that had been feasting on smaller animals, like rabbits and squirrels, to humans. Lyme disease is now found in all 50 states.
When to Get a Lyme Disease Test
Lyme disease is diagnosed by a blood test. The Lyme disease test looks for markers that don’t show until a few weeks after being bitten.
Because Lyme is still pretty new to Florida, it’s important to recognize a tick bite, which shows up as a small red bump that disappears after a few days. If the bite is from a Lyme tick, symptoms will appear about a month later and include:
- An expanding bull’s eye pattern rash
- Flu symptoms including fatigue, chills, headache or stiff neck, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes
- Additional body rashes
- Eye inflammation
If the initial Lyme disease test comes back positive, or you already have the bull’s eye rash, a second test will be done to confirm it.
Lyme Disease Treatment With Antibiotics
Lyme disease is treated with oral antibiotics usually given over a 14- to 21-day period. Patients who develop problems with the central nervous system (rare in Florida) may need to receive antibiotics through an IV.
Some people develop what looks like Lyme disease, but don’t recall seeing or feeling a bite. They don’t test positive for Lyme, but show the same symptoms and may, in fact, be infected with similar bacteria, possibly from a Lyme tick that carried other bacteria. Some patients with this condition call it chronic Lyme disease because the symptoms don’t always respond to antibiotics and return.
Reach out to Broadway Health to learn about the urgent care services we provide for our patients and find out more about the Lyme disease tick treatment.