Diagnosing Lyme disease is extremely challenging. Lyme victims are commonly misdiagnosed with other illnesses, and, when a proper diagnosis is made, it’s often difficult to verify because accurate testing isn’t available.
Experienced doctors diagnose Lyme disease clinically, meaning their diagnosis is based on an evaluation of your risk factors and your symptoms. You can assist your doctor in making a correct diagnosis by following our “Patient’s Checklist”.
Before visiting your doctor…
- Keep the tick for examination
If you discover a tick on your body and remove it before visiting your doctor, keep the tick for future examination. It’s actually easier to test a tick for Lyme infection than to test a person. Contact your local CanLyme Area Support Team to learn about tick testing in your area.Important: If you discover a tick, don’t wait to have the tick tested or to develop symptoms. Seek treatment immediately.
- Take photos of your rash
A spreading, expanding, or circular rash (sometimes referred to as a called a “bull’s-eye” rash) can be a sign of Lyme infection, but only a small subset of the Lyme bacteria will cause a rash of any kind. Lyme rashes usually only last a few days or weeks, so it’s important to get photos of the rash area so you can show them to your doctor after the rash has disappeared.
- Make note of common Lyme symptoms
There are certain symptoms that are characteristic of Lyme disease. Be sure to inform your doctor if you’ve experienced the following: strange rashes, flu-like symptoms, sore or stiff joints/bones, fatigue, muscle cramping/aching, or brain fog.
- Try to remember when and how you were infected
If you’ve spent time in well-known tick habitats – while camping, hiking, gardening, etc. – your risk of contracting Lyme is higher. Knowing when you may have been exposed to Lyme will help your doctor to diagnose and treat the infection.
- Keep a timeline of your symptoms
Lyme is difficult to diagnose because of its many symptoms. Keeping a record of your symptoms can help your doctor to assess your condition and eliminate other potential illnesses. Download and fill out Dr. Burrascano’s Lyme questionnaire to help track your symptoms.
- Mention CanLyme as a reference
CanLyme.com is Canada’s best resource for Lyme disease information, and we’ve developed a special section just for physicians.
Find a “Lyme-literate” doctor near you
Lyme is a relatively new disease in Canada, and many doctors won’t test/treat for Lyme because they’ve been misinformed about the rate of infection.
Contact the CanLyme Area Support Team to find doctors near you that are knowledgeable about Lyme disease and the ILADS standard of care.
Do you suspect you’ve contracted Lyme disease? If so, there are specific steps you should take to improve your chances of receiving a proper diagnosis.