Healthy Living

Lyme Disease: The Top 10 Questions

How long does it take to tell if you have Lyme disease?

How long does it take to tell if you have Lyme disease?

It could take a bit of time before you know you have Lyme disease as it can be troublesome to diagnose. Firstly, people do not always know when they have been bitten by a tick. Thus, they may not seek the proper medical treatment until symptoms develop. In addition, the numerous symptoms for Lyme disease can imitate signs and symptoms of other conditions including the flu. Also, the ticks that can spread the disease are often small and difficult to see with the human eye.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can begin at any time between 3 and 30 days after an individual becomes infected. The incubation period can lead to some confusion about the symptoms. If people don’t remember being bitten, they may think that they have flu.

Diagnosis is difficult as blood tests may not always detect a positive case. It is recommended to undergo two types of blood tests; enzyme immunoassay (EI) and western blot. When both of these tests are positive, the physician can confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease. The accuracy of the tests will depend on the stage of the disease at which a person is tested. In the few weeks after infection, any tests that are performed to check for the disease will likely be negative. Thus, the best time to test for Lyme disease is usually several weeks after the infection occurs. During this time, the tests can more accurately determine if infection is present.