Lets quickly talk about the diseases ticks spread. It's important to be aware of other diseases they carry so that if you get tested for Lyme and it comes back negative, two things, it could still be Lyme (the blood tests here in Canada are not always reliable) or, it could be something else.
Anaplasmosis:a tickborne disease caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum.
Symptoms: Usually occuring within 1-2 weeks of a tick bite. Fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. Anaplasmosis is initially diagnosed in the US based on symptoms and clinical presentation, and later confirmed by the use of specialized laboratory tests.
Babesiosis: malaria-like parasite, also called a “piroplasm,” that infects red blood cells. The symptoms of babesiosis is similar to those of Lyme disease but babesiosis more often starts with a high fever and chills.
Symptoms: “As the infection progresses, patients may develop fatigue, headache, drenching sweats, muscle aches, chest pain, hip pain and shortness of breath (“air hunger”). Babesiosis is often so mild it is not noticed but can be life-threatening to people with no spleen, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems. Complications include very low blood pressure, liver problems, severe hemolytic anemia (a breakdown of red blood cells), and kidney failure.
Sometimes, babesia can be detected in blood examined under a microscope. However, this method is reliable only in the first two weeks of the infection.” lymedisease.org
Lyme Disease: The one we all hear about.
Symptoms: fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Powassan: "About 15% of patients who are infected and have symptoms are not going survive," said Lyons, who is also an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. "Of the survivors, at least 50% will have long-term neurological damage that is not going to resolve."
Symptoms: can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. There is no specific treatment, but people with severe POW virus illnesses often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.” cdc.gov
To sum it up:
It may take time to protect yourself and prevent tick bites, but it’s a lot easier to do in the long run than treating the disease that may follow.