Is It COVID or a Tick-Borne Disease?

Is It COVID or a Tick Borne Disease?

( – COVID-19 is on most minds these days, with many of us feeling grateful for each moment the pandemic passes us by. This widespread preoccupation could be distracting some of us from other dangers waiting to strike. Tick-borne diseases are in full swing this time of year, so it’s important to know what to watch out for. Here are the main differences.

Major COVID Symptoms

A lot of COVID-19 symptoms are similar to what a person could expect with a bout of the flu. The CDC says the most common complaints include fever, chills, congestion, headache and body aches. Patients may also experience gastrointestinal distress, a sore throat and/or a sudden inability to smell or taste. Many patients experience breathing difficulties or shortness of breath. Some people may not be aware of when they’ve been exposed, but symptoms can begin anytime between 2 and 14 days after the virus first makes contact.

Main Indicators of Tick-Borne Diseases

Tick-borne illnesses are nothing to play around with, but they aren’t always easy to identify right off the bat. According to New York Presbyterian Hospital, the majority cause three major symptoms: fever, fatigue and muscle aches. Not very specific, right? Some people may feel like they’re coming down with the flu, but the tell-tale congestion never comes.

Here are a handful of symptoms that can help sufferers narrow down different tick-borne diseases:

  • Rashes: Lyme disease can cause a distinct “bull’s eye” rash, while babesiosis and anaplasmosis can cause blotches of tiny, broken blood vessels in the skin, or petechiae. When COVID-19 causes a rash, it usually resembles hives or chickenpox.
  • Unusual sweating: Diseases like babesiosis, a blood parasite closely related to malaria, can cause severe perspiration and drenching night sweats.
  • Swollen knee: Most of these conditions, including COVID-19, can cause joint pain, but only one — Lyme disease — will cause severe swelling in one knee.
  • Extreme headache: Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and many other tick-borne infections can cause unusually severe headaches, which may also come with neck stiffness.

Multiple tick-borne infections do occur; people co-infected with Lyme disease and other illnesses often experience much more severe symptoms. Blood tests can pinpoint the specific offenders.

The Bottom Line

There’s a huge overlap in symptoms between all of these diseases, but the big one to watch out for with COVID-19 is lung involvement. While this infection can cause a wide range of symptoms, with some of the rarer ones being downright bizarre and scary, the majority of people who get sick with this virus will experience at least some level of congestion.

Regardless of symptoms, people who are feeling unusually ill in any way should seek prompt medical advice. Whether it’s COVID-19 or a tick-borne disease, every one of these nasty bugs can send a person to the hospital under the right conditions. In some cases, quick medical treatment can make the difference between a minor sickness and total devastation.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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