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If you live near a highly wooded area lush with plants, you’ve likely heard of Lyme disease. It’s an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick.

Lyme disease is concentrated in certain areas because there are specific environmental conditions that help support it. According to annual data collected between 2008 and 2015, the vast majority of Lyme disease occurs in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest regions of the United States. High-incidence states include:

  • Other parts of New England include Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont.
  • Delaware.
  • Maryland.
  • Minnesota is located in the state of Minnesota.
  • New Jersey is located in the United States.
  • New York.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Virginia.
  • The state of Wisconsin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 30,000 cases in the United States are reported to state health departments each year. In 2019, the CDC reported a total of 34,945 confirmed and probable cases of the disease. But other estimates suggest that around 476,000 people are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease in a year.

You can learn more about the disease and get tested at home.

If you aren’t familiar with Lyme disease, it’s an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Black-legged or deer ticks carry the disease after feeding on infected deer, birds, or mice, and pass it to humans through a tick bite.

The CDC says that black-legged ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease.

Most ticks that transmit the bacteria to humans are nymphs, which are immature ticks. According to the CDC, these are about the size of a poppyseed. This means that they are harder to see and remove in a timely manner.

“Many people who develop the disease don’t remember seeing or feeling a tick bite, as the insects can be smaller than a pinhead.”

While adult ticks can also transmit the bacteria, they’re much larger and are often removed earlier. According to a 2016 study, other strains of Borrelia bacteria can cause Lyme disease. But the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria is prevalent in North America.

A blood finger test is used for an at- home test for the disease.

If you have been exposed to the bacteria Borrelia that leads to the infection of Lyme disease, your body will have created two antibodies to fight it off. The test will look for the presence of both types of antibodies, known as immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG).

You will receive your test kit and account information so that you can get your test results as soon as possible. Follow the instructions that the manufacturer has given.

“It is important to read the kit’s detailed information before starting a test.”

If Lyme disease is treated soon after a tick bite, the outlook is great. Most cases of Lyme disease respond to a 2- to 4-week round of antibiotics.

It can be difficult to eliminate the disease if it goes undetected. It can lead to inflammation of the joints, heart, and nervous system. The severity of the disease can vary from person to person.

Acute, early disseminated, and late disseminated are the stages of the disease. Multiple systems in the body are involved in the later stages of the disease.

The most common sign of Lyme disease is an erythema migrans, or bull’s-eye rash. The rash often appears after a delay of 3 to 30 days after the tick bite, according to the CDC. The average delay is about 7 days after the tick bite.

About 70% to 80% of people with Lyme disease have a single erythema migrans rash. However, not every person experiences this rash.

The most common symptom of the disease is a rash.

Other symptoms of Lyme disease

  • fatigue
  • “It’s achy in one knee.”
  • There is a throbbing head.
  • There is a high degree of fever.
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes.

Lyme disease that remains unnoticed or untreated can go on to progress to disseminated Lyme disease. With disseminated Lyme disease, symptoms can also include neurologic conditions, such as cranial nerve palsy (particularly facial nerve palsy) and meningitis that mimics aseptic meningitis. Heart inflammation can also be a sign of Lyme disease.

If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms, you should get a home test to identify the disease. A test can be shipped to your door with the click of a button.

If you are an avid outdoors person who lives in areas where ticks are present, these tests may be useful.

We looked at affordability, accuracy, ease of directions, and what made the specific tests stand out from the crowd when choosing at- home Lyme disease tests.

We look at user reviews to pick the best tests.

You can use a health spending account or flexible spending account to purchase all of the at- home tests. You may be able to use your insurance.

Some of these tests aren’t available in New York., New Jersey, or Rhode Island. Check your state guidelines to see if you can get one shipped to you.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $100
  • $$ = $100–$150
  • $$$ = over $150

A note about at-home testing

“It is not a substitute for speaking with a doctor in person. Health information is provided by at- home testing kits. They don’t consider your medical history, and not all services connect users with qualified physicians.”

“You might not know how to interpret your results. Some testing services don’t measure up to lab tests ordered by a doctor. It is important to do your due diligence when shopping for these types of tests. It is a good idea to talk to your doctor about your results.”

Best for quick turnaround


  • Price: $$
  • Collection method: blood
  • Results: 2–5 days

With a sample of blood taken by finger prick, LetsGetChecked tests for Borrelia IgM, the first antibody produced when fighting an infection, and IgG antibodies, the most abundant antibody found in the body.

High levels of IgG antibodies and low levels of IgM antibodies indicate a past or active infection with Borrelia bacteria.

You can use your test after you get it. A video on the website shows how to collect a blood sample. The sample must be collected by 10 a.m. The same day was returned Monday through Thursday.

You can drink water before taking the test, but you have to take it before breakfast.

After the sample arrives at the lab, confidential results will be available in your account in 2 to 5 business days.

A team of nurses are available for call support.



  • There is no physician network for a positive diagnosis.
  • “Doesn’t accept insurance.”
  • Not available in New York..

Best for ease of use


  • Price: $$
  • Collection method: blood
  • Results: 5–7 business days

Everlywell is an easy-to-use at-home Lyme disease test. The Everlywell digital platform is user-friendly, and the instructions are easy to understand and follow.

Like other at-home tests, once you register the kit, you take your finger prick and send the sample back to the company. The Everlywell test looks for antibody responses to three strains of bacteria: Borrelia garinii, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia burgdorferi.

You can see a personalized report of the markers that were tested.

An independent board certified physician in your state reviews Everlywell tests. You can purchase tests from both websites.

The tests are covered by insurance. It is worth asking a healthcare professional if Everlywell works with insurance.


  • An independent board certified physician in your state reviewed and approved the review.
  • The labs are certified by the CLIA.
  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a law that complies with.


  • not available in New York.
  • “It’s expensive to out-of-pocket.”
  • Wait for results longer.

Best for laboratory testing near you


  • Price: $
  • Collection method: blood
  • Results: 2–10 business days

If you want to choose a lab near you, Personalabs is a good choice. You can take the blood sample to a lab and have it tested the same day. Personalabs works with over 2,300 labs.

Take your sample directly to the lab you want. They will check for IgM and IgG and the results will be uploaded to your account online.


  • Costs under $100.
  • You can choose the lab that you want to use.
  • No need to pay for extras to look at results.


  • If you need a physician, you will need to find one on your own.
  • You must go to a local lab for testing.
  • Depending on the lab you choose, wait times could be longer.
  • not available in Hawaii, New Jersey, New York., North Dakota, and Rhode Island

Best for testing other tick-borne illnesses


  • Price: $$$
  • Collection method: blood or urine
  • Results: sent to your doctor

IGeneX makes a test for tick-borne illnesses. You can choose to take a sample. Blood samples must be provided to a lab that is IGeneX approved. Your doctor will review the results.

You need to fill out the paperwork after you order a kit. The company can send the results to a location.

The test will look for several markers of Lyme disease to ensure accuracy. You can also choose from multiple different panels of testing. Some of these panels, for example, look at T cells, antibodies, DNA, and antigens.

The company does work with insurance providers and sometimes Medicare on some of the policies. Before purchasing IGeneX, you should contact your insurance provider for benefit specific information.


  • comprehensive
  • Different markers for tick-borne illnesses are looked at.
  • works with insurance
  • The CLIA is certified.
  • Can be used in all 50 states.


  • The tests on the market are more expensive than the ones on the market.
  • There is paperwork involved.
  • Must go to an approved lab for the sample.

Most Lyme disease tests check for the presence of IgM and IgG antibodies. IgM antibodies indicate you may be fighting off a current infection, while IgG antibodies indicate that your body has been exposed to a strain of Borrelia and has tried to fight it off in the past.

“Other tests may offer additional services such as DNA analysis that can help predict the nature of your body’s response to a disease.”

This chart can be used to help determine which test is right for you.

Name LetsGetChecked Everlywell Personalabs IGeneX
Price $$ $$ $ $$$
Collection method blood sample blood sample blood sample blood sample or urine
Tests performed IgM and IgG antibodies IgM and IgG antibodies IgM and IgG antibodies antibodies, DNA, T cells, and more
Turnaround time 2–5 days 5–8 days 2–10 business days sent to doctor

“Positive results don’t mean you have a diagnosis of the disease. The tests will show that there are antibodies in your blood, but a doctor will need to order another test before they can make a diagnosis.”

“If someone gets a positive at-home test, definitely see your doctor,” says Puja Uppal, DO, a board certified family medicine physician and the chief medical officer at Think Healthy.

A doctor will likely order both an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and a Western blot test, which check for antibodies specific to Borrelia burgdorferi. They will consider the results of both these tests, along with your symptoms, to make an accurate diagnosis.

If you are considering at- home testing, you might be wondering how it differs from getting a test done by a medical professional.

You are responsible for collecting the sample. This might be a urine or blood sample. The kits come with instructions on how to collect a sample and give you the tools to do so.

You will receive a mailer that will allow you to send the sample to a lab for testing. You will receive your results within a few days.

A doctor can explain your results and give follow-up guidance if you use an at- home testing kit. Many providers will only provide this service if you test positive, leaving people with negative results and potentially long-term symptoms to ponder what to do next.

“Testing services don’t always give guidance on when to test for the disease. Antibodies don’t develop immediately. If you have been bitten by a tick, your results will not be positive for several weeks.”

“In-person tests for the disease involve a needle being inserted into the forearm. Doctors don’t draw blood in their offices but will send you for testing at a nearby lab.”

Doctors will usually consider other possible diagnoses before testing for the disease. They will ask you if you have recently been exposed to an infectious tick.

According to the CDC, doctors should perform a two-step testing process for the disease. If your sample tests negative, no further testing is required. In the case of a positive or indeterminate result, doctors will order a second test. A second positive result determines an overall positive diagnosis.

A two-step testing process is not followed by most at- home testing providers. If the service connects you with a doctor, they may recommend additional testing if you test positive.

Early detection and treatment of the disease are important. You can take a course of antibiotics at home to clear up the infections of the disease.

In some cases, however, people who are treated with antibiotics may continue to experience symptoms. When this happens, it’s called chronic Lyme disease or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Doctors may treat chronic Lyme disease with a continued course of antibiotics, but the treatment often also involves managing symptoms like pain and inflammation.

If you think you have been bitten by a tick and are experiencing symptoms of a disease called Lyme disease, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. Doctors will usually treat for the disease without waiting for a test result if certain symptoms and risk factors are present.

Is Lyme disease curable?

As mentioned above, most cases of Lyme disease respond to antibiotics. Lyme disease is best treated early. Sometimes, people with Lyme disease have symptoms months after they finish treatment, according to the CDC.

What if Lyme disease goes untreated?

If Lyme disease goes untreated, it can affect other systems in the body. According to the CDC, common symptoms of later-stage Lyme disease include:

  • neck stiffness and There is a throbbing head.s
  • There are blisters on other parts of the body.
  • A droop on one or both sides of the face is a loss of muscle tone.
  • arthritis with swelling and pain in the knees and other large joints
  • There is pain in bones and muscles.
  • There are palpitations or an irregular heartbeat.
  • There is dizziness or a brief breath.
  • The brain and spine are affected by inflammation.
  • Nerve pain.

What do testing kits typically include?

Testing kits may include:

  • A device to collect saliva, blood, or urine.
  • instructions
  • A container is used to ship the sample back to the lab.
  • A shipping label.

Some kits come with a bag and wipes. Styrofoam holders, labels, or tubes are included in kits.

Are at-home Lyme disease tests reliable?

An at- home test for detecting the disease may not be very accurate. If an antibody test is positive, your doctor will likely order a second test called a Western blot or a PCR test.

These tests can still take 4 to 6 weeks to show positive after symptoms start. That’s why doctors will typically treat for Lyme disease even without a positive test result if you have enough symptoms and risk factors.

Are Lyme disease tests covered by insurance?

Diagnostic testing is paid for by insurance companies when ordered by a doctor. You can use tax-exempt accounts to pay for a test at home.

Does Medicare cover at-home Lyme disease tests?

“Medicare doesn’t cover at- home tests for the disease.”

How will pregnancy affect treatment for Lyme disease?

Early treatment of Lyme disease during pregnancy is important. That’s because if Lyme disease is untreated, it can affect the placenta. According to the CDC, the transmission of Lyme disease from mother to fetus is possible, though rare.

Treatment for pregnant people includes antibiotics. Treatments for the disease can affect the fetus. If you suspect you have the disease, talk to a healthcare professional.

Early treatment of the disease is important. The body can be affected by multiple diseases without treatment. The antibiotics that respond well to early treatment are a 2- to 4-week round.

It is important to check for tick bites after hiking, camping, or spending time in a wooded area. If you have a tick bite or have symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

A writer with chronic migraines, Steph Coelho is interested in health and well being. She is probably nose-deep in a good book when she is not on her keyboard.

Tracee Herbaugh is a writer and journalist who lives in the Boston area. She writes about culture, lifestyle, health, and family relationships. You can view her work online or find her on Twitter.