I was bitten by a tick in Massachusetts a month ago and since then have been feeling unwell. Do I have Lyme disease? What should I do?

Just because you were bitten does not mean you have Lyme disease, and the fact that you are feeling bad may or may not be related to your bite.

First, the tick had to be a blacklegged tick, the only kind that transmits the bacteria to humans and causes the disease. Also, most commonly, the tick must have remained attached to your skin for more than 24 hours to infect you.

Because you live in Massachusetts, one of the 12 states with the most cases of Lyme disease, you do have cause for concern. You do not mention your symptoms, but a rash, aching muscles or joints, a fever, fatigue, chills, headache, and swollen lymph nodes are common Lyme disease symptoms.

We suggest that you see a medical professional as soon as possible. Because the disease is more successfully treated in the early stages, you should not delay a visit to the doctor. He or she can diagnose your condition using several different methods.

In addition to a physical examination, your doctor will likely ask you questions about your medical history. Because Lyme disease shares many of the nonspecific symptoms of other conditions like viral infections, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis. 

It is also important to know that the blacklegged tick can also spread other diseases at the same time it transmits Lyme disease.

The bottom line is to seek medical attention before you do anything else to avoid becoming so sick you cannot participate in your normal life activities including work. And, if you do become disabled, don’t wait to contact a Massachusetts SSA disability lawyer to discover your options.

At Keefe Disability Law, we have helped many people apply for New England SSA disability benefits successfully. Call us today toll free at 888-904-6847 with any questions you have.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer