Contracting Lyme disease and trying to obtain a correct diagnosis is often difficult. The disease shares symptoms that are common with flus and fevers. In Massachusetts, flu-like symptoms could lead to a medical misdiagnosis and incorrect treatments.
Mistaking common symptoms
Summer flu has common symptoms that are mistaken with several other diseases. The symptoms include coughing, runny nose, sore throat and fever.
Summer flu is often confused for Lyme disease, which has similar symptoms that include fevers, headaches and fatigue. A distinctive symptom is a skin rash known as erythema migrans. Doctors also distinguish Lyme disease by the person’s exposure to outdoor areas where there could be infected ticks.
While most cases of flu are treated without causing serious, long-term effects, Lyme disease could worsen and spread to other parts of the body. The disease is transmitted through the bites of infected ticks that carry the Borrelia burgdorferi or Borrelia mayonii bacterium. Treating and eliminating the infection often involves using antibiotics.
Receiving a misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosing Lyme disease for summer flu or another condition may cause the infection to spread to the joints, heart, brain, spinal cord or other organs. Some patients who have received misdiagnoses have mounting medical bills and lost wages from being too ill to work. Suffering from the effects of misdiagnosis is one of the most common types of medical malpractice.
In all U.S. states, people contract Lyme disease and experience symptoms that mimic the flu. A large percentage of them are misdiagnosed and experience severe health problems due to a lack of proper treatment. Doctors distinguish Lyme disease from the flu by considering the presence of a skin rash and the patient’s exposure to the wilderness where infected ticks are found.