I recently found out one of my brothers has Lyme disease. I found out because another of my brothers was taken to the ER after complaining of chills and then fainting. He was calling the doctor to find out test results for Lyme. It was negative this time.

That brings me to find out more about Lyme disease from their website, lymesdisease.org. About 300,000 people are diagnosed every year in the United States.

Lyme is found in all parts of the United States and more than 60 countries and is transmitted by the deer or the black-legged tick, which is more on the West Coast. They carry a bacterial infection that causes Lyme. The south has something similar called STARI -- Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness -- by the Lone Star Tick.

Testing for Lyme disease is inconsistent. The results may come back negative and patients may be diagnosed with a different condition.

Early Lyme disease may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches and joint pain. A rash may appear that looks like a bull's eye. The rash starts a few days after the bite and last for days. Lyme rashes may resemble spider bites or ringworm. Take a photo of it and take it to your doctor.

Late treatment may lead to chronic Lyme disease, meaning there could be problems in later years with heart and circulation, digestion, brain and nervous systems. Chronic Lyme patients have reported sleep impairment, muscle aches, depression and joint pain.

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. There are two groups that disagree about treatment. Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) suggests a short course of antibiotics. International Lyme and Associated Diseases (ILADS) suggest individualized treatment. No single antibiotic or combination seems to completely eliminate the infection. Relapses are reported, but are less common when treatment is early.

Always consult your doctor with any concerns or questions.

Make sure you pets are protected from ticks. Check for ticks when you have been outside in long grassy areas or the woods.

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