With Lyme and COVID cases presently surging, this excerpt from a recent talk by Dr. Aucott on early diagnosis is timely:
John Aucott, MD, Director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center, discusses how to distinguish early Lyme disease from acute COVID in his May 4, 2022 talk, to the Lyme Care Resource Center. In this excerpt, he highlights a case where a Lyme disease rash is mistaken for COVID toes and results in a substantial delay in diagnosing Lyme disease.
Although many of the early “flu-like” symptoms of COVID-19 and Lyme disease are similar, there are important differences that can help distinguish the acute presentations of these infections.
Similar Flu-Like Symptoms:
- Body/muscle aches and pains
Signs and symptoms present in acute Lyme Disease but not typical in acute COVID:
- Large expanding red round rash
- Neck and joint pain
Signs and symptoms present in acute COVID but not typical in acute Lyme Disease:
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Respiratory issues
- Dry cough
- Shortness of Breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
- Bluish lips or face
- Digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea
- Diffuse rash or “COVID toes” that look similar to frost bite
Not everyone with acute Lyme Disease or COVID will get a rash, but when it’s present a rash can be an important distinguishing feature for aiding early diagnosis.
Learn more about how to distinguish acute COVID from early Lyme disease in this May 2021 video:
Suspicious Rash or Flu-Like Symptoms?
If you have a suspicious expanding red circular rash and/or flu-like symptoms such as fever, achiness, extreme fatigue, severe headache or neckache, this could be acute Lyme disease. Please seek medical care immediately.
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