My father contracted Lyme disease back in the 90's, before it was widely recognized. Well, even today Dr's often don't pick up on it right away.
I remember him being sluggish and grouchy, most likely due to him being constantly sick, for quite a while. After he was diagnosed he mentioned to me that he was always sore, tired and thirsty. He was put on some antibiotics, sorry I don't know which, for a few months as I recall. Lucky for him he made a full recover but it was something like a year long process for him.
As for avoiding it the best way I can figure is scrape your body clean after being in the brush/woods every time. Even if it means a dip in the nearest stream or pond.