As the weather warms, you may hear about more cases of Lyme disease. This condition, which spreads through tick bites, can cause a wide range of symptoms and even affect your heart if left untreated.\nWhen Lyme bacteria reach your heart tissue, it can cause\u00a0Lyme carditis, which affects your heart’s electrical system. Learn more about this condition.\n\nHome Treatment for Stings and Insect Bites\nWhat Is Lyme Disease?\nLyme disease is a bacterial infection that spreads through tick bites. Not all ticks carry Lyme disease. Black-legged ticks, also called deer ticks, are carriers of the disease.\nThese ticks are often found in wooded, grassy areas in the New England, mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest areas of the United States.\nIf an infected tick bites a person or animal, the infection passes from the tick into that body. Early symptoms of Lyme disease can appear within a few days of a tick bite. In most cases, the first sign is a red rash that can look like a bull’s eye. Other early symptoms can include:\n\nFever\nHeadaches or body aches\nA stiff neck\nFatigue\n\nAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if a tick is attached to your skin for fewer than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is low. If you find a tick on your body, carefully\u00a0remove it using these tips. If you develop symptoms, contact your doctor right away.\nIs Lyme Disease Treatable?\nIn most cases, Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics when caught early. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause more serious problems that affect your joints, nervous system, and heart.\nHow Does Lyme Disease Affect the Heart? Learn More About\u00a0Lyme Carditis\nWhen Lyme bacteria reach your heart tissue, it can cause\u00a0Lyme carditis, which affects your heart’s electrical system.\nLyme carditis can lead to another condition called\u00a0heart block, which happens when your heart beats too slowly. There are three types of heart block:\n\nFirst-degree heart block: when the electrical signals reach the bottom chambers of your heart, called your ventricles, slower than usual.\nSecond-degree heart block: when the electrical signals either fail to reach the ventricles fully, or some of the signals cannot reach them at all.\nThird-degree heart block: when none of the electrical signals can reach your ventricles.\n\nSymptoms of Lyme carditis can include:\n\nDizziness or light-headedness\nFainting\nShortness of breath\nChest pains\n\nLyme carditis can be treated, usually through antibiotics. Some patients may also need a temporary pacemaker to keep the heart beating at a normal rate.\nHow Can I Prevent Tick Bites?\nTo prevent tick bites, you can:\n\nStick to the center of walking paths or hiking trails, away from brush\nUse\u00a0tick repellent\u00a0on your skin and clothing\nBathe or shower as soon as you can once indoors\nConduct a full-body check to spot ticks on your skin and in your hair\nCheck your gear and pets for ticks\n\nTo learn more about treatments for Lyme carditis, contact the\u00a0UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute,\u00a0or call\u00a01-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484).