Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease can affect every part of your body. Both the symptoms and their severity can vary from one person to the next. Thus, the list of possible symptoms can be extensive.

The incubation period (time between infection and appearance of symptoms) is typically one to two weeks, but it can be shorter (a few days) or much longer (months to years). It is possible for the disease to exist without symptoms. This occurs in less than seven percent of those infected in the United States.

The most common symptoms include those listed below.

  1. The telltale red rash (erythema chronicum migrans – EM) —  The rash can appear several days Lyme Disease Symptoms - 4-Word Boundafter infection (in some cases it does not appear at all), and can last up to several weeks. It is present in 70 – 80 percent of those infected. It typically expands outward, and it may resemble a bulls eye. The rash can be very small or can grow to be rather large (up to 12 inches in diameter). It can also mimic other skin problems (hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, or flea bite). It may itch, and it may feel hot. On the other hand, it may not be felt at all. It can disappear and return several weeks later.
  2. Flu-like symptoms appear several days after the tick bite. These symptoms include headache, stiff neck, aches and pains in muscles and joints, low-grade fever and chills, fatigue, poor appetite, or swollen glands.
  3. A few weeks or months after the bite, other symptoms  may appear, such as: 
    1. Neurological symptoms: inflammation of the nervous system (meningitis) and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles (Bells Palsy).
    2. Cardiac symptoms: inflammation of the heart (myopericarditis) and heart rate irregularities.
    3. Eye problems: inflammation (red eye).
    4. Mild encephalitis may lead to memory loss, sleep disturbances, or mood changes.
  4. Months to years after a bite, other symptoms may emerge, including:
    1. Lyme Arthritis — inflammation of the joints, typically the knees, but other joints may be affected, as well.
    2. Neurological Symptoms: numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, difficulties with speech, memory, or concentration, chronic encephalomyelitis (which may be progressive, can involve cognitive impairment), brain fog, migraines, balance issues, weakness in the legs, awkward gait, facial palsy, bladder problems, vertigo, and back pain.
  5. Chronic Lyme Disease (also called Post Lyme Disease Syndrome). This is usually characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.

A very extensive list of possible Lyme Disease symptoms can be found at