Lyme Disease | Symptoms & Treatments

Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness caused by bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The infection is caused by being bitten by an infected tick. The first sign of Lyme Disease is a rash that spreads out from the site of the tick bite. If it is not treated the infection can spread to other parts of the body. 

The rash that forms is often in a bull's-eye pattern and accompanied by flu-like symptoms. In some cases joint pain and weakness in the limbs may occur.

Early Signs & Symptoms:

  • Pain in joints or muscles
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Rash around bite area in a bull's-eye pattern
  • Fatigue, fever & weakness 
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Joint stiffness or swelling

These signs & symptoms can begin to show up from 3 to 30 days after a tick bite. The average is about 7 days. 

Later Signs & Symptoms: 

  • Additional rashes on other areas of the body
  • Severe headaches & neck stiffness 
  • Facial palsy
  • Nerve pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness 
  • Irregular heart beat 
  • Inflammation of the brain or spinal cord
  • Problems with short-term memory 

These signs & symptoms can begin to show up days to months after an infected tick bite.


Most people diagnosed with Lyme Disease can recover after appropriate treatment of antibiotics.

It is important if you have been in an area outside where ticks are common be sure to do an examination & check you entire body for ticks. If you find a tick on your skin take steps to remove the tick quickly. See removal tips here.  

For detailed recommendations on treatment the CDC refers to Oxford Journals The Clinical Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention of Lyme Disease, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America

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