In 60-80 percent of cases, a rash resembling a bull's eye or solid patch, about two inches in diameter, appears and expands around or near the site of the bite. Sometimes, multiple rash sites appear. The early stage of Lyme disease is usually marked by one or more of the following symptoms: chills and fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck, muscle and/or joint pain, and swollen glands.
Lyme disease can affect people of any age. People who spend time in grassy and wooded environments are at an increased risk of exposure. The chances of being bitten by a deer tick are greater during times of the year when ticks are most active.
Young deer ticks, called nymphs, are active from mid-May to mid-August and are about the size of poppy seeds. Adult ticks, which are approximately the size of sesame seeds, are most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November. Both nymphs and adults can transmit Lyme disease. Ticks can be active any time the temperature is above freezing. Infected deer ticks can be found throughout New York State.
The most severe symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months or years after the tick bite.
If Lyme disease is unrecognized or untreated in the early stage, more severe symptoms may occur. These can include severe headaches, painful arthritis, swelling of the joints, and heart and central nervous system problems.
When in tick-infested habitat - wooded and grassy areas - take special precautions to prevent tick bites, such as wearing light-colored clothing (for easy tick discovery) and tucking pants into socks and shirt into pants. Check after every two to three hours of outdoor activity for ticks on clothing or skin. Brush off any ticks on clothing before skin attachment occurs. A thorough check of body surfaces for attached ticks should be done at the end of the day.