Lyme Disease vs Mono

zoomed up photo of tick on green leaf

At one of our many locations (DOCS Urgent Care center in Fairfield, CT), we get a lot of questions about Lyme disease. We hope to resolve your concerns so that you can feel confident in treating whatever condition you have.

Many of you know the defeating side effects of contracting Lyme disease or mononucleosis (“mono”). Lyme disease is bacterial and spread through the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by ticks. Since Lyme is most common from April to September, it’s beneficial for you to inform yourself on the subject. Mono is viral and spread through direct contact with saliva. These two can often be diagnosed interchangeably by a doctor because of the difficulty differentiating them.

The Diagnosis

Mononucleosis:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Head and body aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
  • Swollen liver or spleen or both
  • Rash


Lyme:

Early symptoms of Lyme disease are exactly the same as mono. If untreated, symptoms may include:

  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat
  • Problems with short-term memory

Since the initial symptoms may present themselves anywhere from 3 to 30 days post tick bite, the diagnosis may often come back as mononucleosis when it is actually lyme, and vice versa. Misdiagnosing lyme or failure to treat lyme early, can result is debilitating and lasting effects on your body.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is often known as the bacterial disease that never truly leaves the human body and can present itself at the most inconvenient times. This is because ticks are so frequently found on our bodies and the odds that one actually carries the lyme disease bacteria is slim. Once infected, it could potentially take months or years to actually show any symptoms, and even after treatment, symptoms may linger.

How to Prevent Lyme:

      • Avoid Wooded Areas and High Grass
      • Walk in the Center of Trails
      • Wear long sleeves and pants when working with brush, wooded areas, tall grass and similar areas
      • Use repellents that contain 20-30% DEET
      • Use products that contain 0.5% permethrin on clothing
      • Examine clothes, backpacks and pets after coming back from any outdoor activities

 

Mononucleosis

The symptoms of mono and lyme disease may be very nearly identical, but the duration of mononucleosis isn’t usually as drastic. Most cases last 2 to 4 weeks with the occasional infection that incurs symptoms for months. Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and approximately 25% of all people infected with EBV will contract mononucleosis. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed by a false positive EBV test which is why the two are extremely difficult to differentiate.

How to Prevent Mono

      • Avoid sharing drinks, straws, food, food utensils, inhalers, and cigarettes.
      • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
      • Keeping your body healthy is very important; Healthy bodies are more likely to fight illness.
      • Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet are all parts of keeping your body healthy, and can be the determining factor if you contract mono or not.

 

Get Tested at DOCS Urgent Care

Here at DOCS Urgent Care, we offer 24/7 care for our walk in patients. If you have even the slightest suspicion that you may have Lyme disease or mono, visit our Urgent Care Center in Fairfield, or one of our many locations closest to you. It’s better to catch Lyme or mono early on, rather than suffer from long term symptoms in the ongoing years. Here is a link for more information on our Lyme disease services.