As my oldest daughter’s tenth birthday approaches, I’m also remembering another linked milestone. Three years ago, on the way home from her birthday party, her first Lyme disease symptom appeared. Of course, six days would pass before we discovered that’s what it was: early Lyme. Still, her saying “I’m cold”—in August—sounded our first alarm.
Besides chills, Michaela’s other signs and symptoms included fatigue, headaches, and high fevers. Most telling of all, she eventually sported the distinctive bull’s-eye rash. You can read her story here.
Lyme Disease Symptoms Vary by Person
For most people, though, Lyme doesn’t cause high fevers. Fevers themselves are common, but they’re usually low-grade. (If you do have high fevers with Lyme, you may also have a co-infection called babesiosis.) What’s worse, many people don’t notice the telling rash.
According to our Lyme specialist, during stage one, some people with Lyme just don’t feel well. With symptoms like fatigue, malaise, and a sore throat, many assume they just have a cold. Thus, they miss getting diagnosed during the window when antibiotics are most effective.
My Story: Failing to Catch Lyme Early
Two weeks after the hike where I think I contracted Lyme, I wrote in my journal, “Today I was exhausted and not feeling well…”
For me, those were the only symptoms I noticed—or at least recorded—during stage one. Maybe I had a fever. Maybe I didn’t. At the time, we didn’t have a great thermometer, and I wasn’t in the habit of taking my temperature. Yet, by the time I got diagnosed with late-stage Lyme, I had over forty symptoms of the disease.
Dad’s Story: Catching Lyme at Stage Two
In my dad‘s case, for several days, he spiked fevers at night. By the morning, though, he would just have a slightly high temperature, like 99 or so. He would go to work, thinking he was fine. By the end of the day, though, he was feeling unwell again and spiking another fever.
It wasn’t until he progressed to stage two that he and my mom started suspecting Lyme disease. Want to know how they figured it out? Read my next post!