Ketofast Ketofast

ADVERTISEMENT

Lyme Disease Symptoms

Fact Checked

Lyme disease rash

Story at-a-glance -

  • Lyme disease is often called “the great imitator,” as it causes symptoms that are similar to other disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), arthritis, fibromyalgia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Alzheimer’s disease
  • In about 70% to 80% of cases, an expanding red rash will appear that resembles a bull’s-eye
  • In some cases of Lyme disease, the symptoms continue to persist even after a round of treatment with antibiotics. This condition is called chronic or, more precisely, post-treatment Lyme disease

With Lyme disease, early treatment is crucial for a fast and complete recovery. It is often called "the great imitator," as it causes symptoms that are similar to other disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), arthritis, fibromyalgia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Alzheimer's disease. This makes Lyme disease very difficult to diagnose and treat, which is why it pays to be familiar with its common symptoms.1,2

Early Signs of Lyme Disease

One of the early warning signs of Lyme disease is an expanding red rash that's sometimes clear in the center. The term for this rash is erythema migrans, but it is often called the "bull's-eye rash." It affects between 70% and 80% of Lyme disease patients.3

Bull's-eye rash commonly develops at the site of the tick bite, slowly becoming bigger over several days and may even reach a diameter of 12 inches. It is generally not painful or itchy but, in some cases, it can develop at more than one place in your body.4

Aside from the bull's eye rash, the other early symptoms of Lyme infection are fever, chills, headache, fatigue and body aches. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you have any of these symptoms, have had a tick bite and live in (or have been to) an area where the disease is prevalent, you may be infected. If this is the case, you need to get a proper diagnosis so the infection can be treated early, and serious complications will be avoided.5

Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

In some cases, the symptoms of Lyme disease continue to persist even after a round of treatment with antibiotics. This condition is called chronic or, more precisely, post-treatment Lyme disease. The common symptoms include muscle and joint aches, severe fatigue and difficulty concentrating, among others. You may also experience heart rhythm disturbances, severe headaches and mental fogginess.6,7

Remember that the symptoms may disappear even without treatment, but this doesn't mean that you are disease-free. Weeks, months or even years after being infected, problems with your heart, brain and nervous and circulatory systems may occur.8,9

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Children

In children, Lyme disease is more difficult to diagnose because they typically can't explain what feels wrong. The signs and symptoms are generally the same, which may start with the bull's-eye rash. Other symptoms include:10,11,12

  • Fatigue
  • Recurrent headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Confusion
  • Uncharacteristic behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Fever/chills
  • Joint pain
  • Dizziness

If you think that you or your child may be infected, consider trying the specialized laboratory test called IGeneX, as they have more specialized tests that can usually detect Lyme infection much better than regular blood tests.

Remember that prevention is better than cure, because Lyme can be difficult to diagnose and treat, especially among children. The CDC recommends the use of insect repellents with N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET).13 However, DEET has been linked to numerous health effects like contact dermatitis, conjunctival damage, hypotension, seizures and coma.14

You may help lower your child's risk for tick bites the safe way by checking for ticks daily under their arms, ears, behind the knees and on the scalp. If they're coming home from outdoors, have them shower immediately and check for tick bites. You may also treat your pets for pests as recommended by a veterinarian.15

MORE ABOUT LYME DISEASE

Lyme Disease: Introduction

What Is Lyme Disease?

Is Lyme Disease Contagious?

Lyme Disease Causes

Lyme Disease Stages

Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme Disease Treatment

Lyme Disease Prevention

Lyme Disease Test

Lyme Disease Diet

Lyme Disease FAQ

< Previous

Lyme Disease Stages

Next >

Lyme Disease Treatment