Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease

lyme disease

Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease

Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 Days After Tick Bite)

Erythema Migrans Rash
“Classic” Erythema Migrans Rash
  • Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of rash
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash (see photos):
  • Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
  • Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days)
  • Expands gradually over several days reaching up to 12 inches or more (30 cm) across
  • May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
  • Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull’s-eye” appearance
  • May appear on any area of the body

Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months after tick bite)

Lyme Disease
  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme carditis)
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet

*Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonoyes it tic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD)

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