By Lisa Meadows

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With summertime weather in full swing, many Minnesotans are excited to get outdoors.

But with social distancing sending even more people out into the woods, health officials are preparing for an up-tick in Lyme disease cases, and even warning of the similarities between COVID-19 and Lyme disease symptoms.

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“With any type of infection fever, body aches, just weariness being tired all the time, those are the ones that are going to be similar,” said Alex Lamkin owner of Any Lab Test Now — which does Lyme disease testing.

Lamkin says the key is recognizing the differences between the two.

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“With Lyme disease you don’t get the shortness of breath and you don’t get the loss of taste, but then you get the rash around the bite site,” Lamkin said.

A tell tale sign of Lyme disease is a bullseye rash around the bite site, but some patients never develop a rash — making Lyme disease difficult to diagnose. Therefore, a test could be your best bet. Testing sites can do a quick blood test for Lyme disease, or they can even test the tick if you still have it.

If you have a tick, you can remove it and place it in rubbing alcohol in a water bottle and bring that tick in to be tested. If the tick tests negative for Lyme disease, you know you did not contract the disease.

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The CDC says June, July, and August are the key months that they see a spike in Lyme disease so make sure to be aware when spending time in the woods.

Lisa Meadows