11 Signs of Lyme Disease You Need to Know

Thanks to insects, a jaunt outside can easily turn into a trip to the doctor if we’re not careful. A bite from a tick may lead to Lyme disease which can be difficult to detect in adults and children.

The illness continues to be a concern for the medical community, with high rates of undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cases. While many people with Lyme disease live in the Northeast or Midwest part of United States, it’s a worldwide problem.

Not everyone has the same symptoms, and the telltale rash that comes along with Lyme’s often escapes the attention of unknowing patients – including children. So, exactly what are the signs of Lyme disease? Once the bacteria enters your bloodstream, it can have a myriad of effects. Check some of them out here, and watch out for ticks!

  1. Rash

    The bullseye rash usually appears within the first few days, but can take up to a month. Though red, there’s no itching associated with the rash and it normally clears up on its own. It can be spotted anywhere on the skin if noticed at all.

  2. Headache

    Headaches occur in nearly 70% percent of patients with early onset of the condition, and over 60% of people living with Lyme. Along with head pain, photosensitivity may also occur.

  3. Stiff or Painful Joints

    Stiffness in the neck, knees, or joints may also be accompanied by pain or swelling. You may have trouble moving your muscles or joints, similar to arthritis. Patients are often misdiagnosed with arthritis or fibromyalgia as this type of pain may come and go.

  4. Fever and Chills

    A high temperature and other flu-like symptoms like chills can make you feel like it’s something other than Lyme disease. Watch out for fever and chills that appear with the rash.

  5. Fatigue

    Unexplained, extreme fatigue can be easily dismissed as a different condition or lack of adequate rest, but more than half of Lyme disease victims report it.

  6. Numbness or Tingling

    One of the neurological effects of the disease is numbness and tingling in the limbs. This typically happens weeks after a bite and is a sign that the illness is progressing.

  7. Shortness of Breath and Dizziness

    Whether you’re engaging in strenuous activity or not, shortness of breath and lightheadedness can strike with Lyme disease. If you notice these symptoms and you’ve never had them before or it happens during normal activities, visit a doctor.

  8. Facial Palsy

    A small percentage of those infected will experiencing partial paralysis or drooping in one side of the face. Seek immediate medical attention for this symptom.

  9. Heart Palpitations

    Bacteria from Lyme disease can affect your heart to the point where its rate slows down or goes up. This can happen in spurts or along with other symptoms. Cardiac decline is a common side effect of advanced Lyme disease. Unfortunately, it can also affect children.

  10. Sleep Problems

    Because of its impact on the nervous system, Lyme disease can cause sleep disturbances such as insomnia. This can affect patients in the early or late stage so follow up with a physician.

  11. Brain Fog

    Issues with memory or concentration are a common sign, as are other cognitive issues. Pay special attention to this symptom in children as well as their speech abilities.

Do you know someone who’s battling (or battled) Lyme disease? Did you believe the rash was the most obvious and/or only symptom? Are you highly concerned about tick-borne illnesses?


Hopkins Medicine