You may hear “Lyme disease” and think of margaritas, but the condition is actually far more serious than you might think. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 476,000 people become infected with the illness each year.
So, what exactly is it?
Contracted via tick bites, Lyme disease can cause joint and muscle pain; headaches; fever; and, in severe cases, can lead to loss of vision; facial palsy; heart conditions; and arthritis. It can be difficult to diagnose Lyme as symptoms are vague, often consisting of fatigue; pain; and brain fog, but one major indicator is a rash. Once the disease has entered your system, symptoms can occur months and even years later.
Several celebrities have spoken about their own experiences with the infection, including Bella Hadid, Shania Twain, April Lavigne, and Justin Bieber.
The disease resulted in Twain losing her voice, with doctors taking 7 years to diagnose it. Lavigne was bedridden for 5 months, and Bieber suffered temporary paralysis on one side of his face.
Unfortunately, even in 2023, there is no vaccine for Lyme, but there are ways to prevent infection. People are recommended to avoid areas known to be inhabited by ticks, to spray all clothing with the permethrin insecticide, and using a tick repellent.
Prevention is not 100% guaranteed, however. In the event that a Lyme infection does occur, it is recommended to start antibiotics immediately.