Lyme disease from summer ticks can spark symptoms similar to COVID-19

People remaining inside because of coronavirus concerns are encouraged to commune with nature outdoors, where ticks that can carry Lyme disease could be found.

To complicate matters, the symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to those associated with COVID-19.

Many tick-borne illnesses can be associated with a rash that sometimes presents itself in COVID-19 patients, “and the other symptoms are things that can be very common and non-specific like fever, achiness and headache — similar to COVID,” said Dr. Karin Dodge, an internal medicine doctor with Kaiser Permanente.

“If you have a high fever, talk to your physician,” Dodge said.

To help avoid developing Lyme disease, Dodge recommends using insect repellent when outdoors, doing tick checks on everyone and pets after coming inside and changing clothes and bathing within two hours of returning indoors.

“We can literally rinse them off,” Dodge said. “They can take a while to find a spot that they like. They’re looking for thinner skin in a nice hidden area like a skin fold or behind your ear.”

To remove ticks, Dodge said to use tweezers or fingers and to avoid yanking or twisting.

“Gently pull on that little fella, and it can take up to a minute, but he’s going to get tired and let go,” Dodge said.

Deer ticks that carry Lyme disease are tiny and brownish. Disease-carrying Lone Star ticks are also becoming more common.

“They look a lot like a deer tick, but they have a white spot on their belly,” Dodge advised.

With the summer solstice approaching Saturday, Dodge’s quick tips for summer safety are to regularly reapply sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 15, drink plenty of fluids and wear insect repellent to keep away disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up