How to know if you have Lyme disease, which affects 300,000 Americans yearly

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Keep this in mind the next time you go for a hike in a wooded or grassy area: Tiny critters called deer ticks often carry Lyme-disease-causing bacteria, which is spread by their bite. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month — and recent CDC estimates suggest Lyme disease, once thought of as fairly rare, is actually 10 times as common as we previously thought and infects roughly 300,000 Americans annually.

So long as it’s treated quickly and properly, Lyme disease isn’t too serious of a health issue. Untreated, however, Lyme can result in severe problems like meningitis or even partial paralysis, and the symptoms may not show up until a week or even years after a bite.

BI Graphics_Symptoms of Lyme disease

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