A bite from a bacteria-infected tick causes Lyme disease. If you get the disease, you might have lingering symptoms. Some people have ongoing pain and fatigue, says Afton Hassett, PsyD, principal investigator at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at University of Michigan.
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If you think you may have this syndrome, experts suggest these tips:
Don’t assume. Tell your doctor your symptoms, and let her check you.
Don’t rush to a specialist. For an accurate diagnosis, start with a primary care doctor, says Eugene Shapiro, MD. He's a professor of pediatrics, epidemiology, and investigative medicine at Yale School of Public Health.
Do take your antibiotic as prescribed. Even if you feel better, continue the course. It’s 4 weeks of medications at most. Some experts believe stopping the drugs before your prescription ends may cause symptoms to linger.
Do find experts who can help your symptoms. Ask your doctor if it would be worth your while to visit naturopaths, traditional Chinese medicine doctors, psychologists, or other experts. Many medical centers have complementary and alternative medicine experts on site.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “Chronic Lyme Disease.”
Phillip Baker, PhD, executive director, American Lyme Disease Foundation.
Eugene Shapiro, MD, professor of pediatrics, epidemiology of microbial disease, and investigative medicine, Yale School of Public Health.
Afton Hassett, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist; principal investigator at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and associate research scientist in the Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School.