Signs & Symptoms

Lyme disease is a multi-stage systemic infectious disease (stages detailed below) most often spread by ticks. Effects can range from mild flu-like symptoms to debilitating chronic illness depending on when treatment is first administered. 

For a more detailed description and history of 
Lyme Disease visit our What is Lyme? page.

Stage 1
early localized infection.
(The First Month) 
The infection is not yet widespread throughout the body.
Stage 2
early disseminated infection.
(1 to 4 Months) 
The bacteria have begun to spread throughout the body.
Stage 3
late persistent infection or chronic Lyme disease. 
The bacteria have spread throughout the body.
* * * * * * * * * * * * 
(Source: CanLyme)

The Tick Bite

Fewer than 50% recall a tick bite or get/see the rash.

The classic Erythema Migrans or "bulls-eye" 
may only be seen in about 30% to 60% of cases.

Rash at site of bite
    Rashes on other parts of your body
    Rash basically circular, oval and spreading out (more generalized)
    Raised rash, disappearing and recurring

Head, Face, Neck

Unexplained hair loss
    Headache, mild or severe, Seizures
    Pressure in head, white matter lesions in brain (MRI)
    Twitching of facial or other muscles
    Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy, Horner's syndrome)
    Tingling of nose, (tip of) tongue, cheek or facial flushing
    Stiff or painful neck
    Jaw pain or stiffness
    Dental problems (unexplained)
    Sore throat, clearing throat a lot,
phlegm (flem), hoarseness, runny nose


Double or blurry vision
    Increased floating spots
    Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes
    Oversensitivity to light
    Flashing lights/Peripheral
waves/phantom images in corner of eyes


Decreased hearing in one or both ears, plugged ears
    Buzzing in ears
    Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sounds
    Ringing in one or both ears

        Digestive and Excretory Systems

    Irritable bladder (trouble starting, stopping) or Interstitial cystitis
    Upset stomach (nausea or pain) or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

        Musculoskeletal System

Bone pain, joint pain or swelling, carpal tunnel syndrome
    Stiffness of joints, back, neck, tennis elbow
    Muscle pain or cramps, (Fibromyalgia)

        Respiratory and Circulatory Systems

Shortness of breath, can't get full/satisfying breath, cough
    Chest pain or rib soreness
    Night sweats or unexplained chills
    Heart palpitations or extra beats
    Endocarditis, Heart blockage

        Neurologic System

Tremors or unexplained shaking
    Burning or stabbing sensations in the body
    Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Weakness,
peripheral neuropathy or partial paralysis
    Pressure in the head
    Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks
    Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
    Increased motion sickness
    Lightheadedness, wooziness

        Psychological Well-being

Mood swings, irritability, bi-polar disorder
    Unusual depression
    Disorientation (getting or feeling lost)
    Feeling as if you are losing your mind
    Over-emotional reactions, crying easily
    Too much sleep, or insomnia
    Difficulty falling or staying asleep
    Narcolepsy, sleep apnea
    Panic attacks, anxiety

        Mental Capability

    Memory loss (short or long term)
    Confusion, difficulty in thinking
    Difficulty with concentration or reading
    Going to the wrong place
    Speech difficulty (slurred or slow)
    Stammering speech
    Forgetting how to perform simple tasks

        Reproduction and Sexuality

    Loss of sex drive
    Sexual dysfunction
    Unexplained menstral pain, irregularity
    Unexplained breast pain, discharge
    Testicular or pelvic pain

        General Well-being
Phantom smells
    Unexplained weight gain, loss
    Extreme fatigue
    Swollen glands/lymph nodes
    Unexplained fevers (high or low grade)
    Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc.)
    Symptoms seem to change, come and go
    Pain migrates (moves) to different body parts
    Early on, experienced a "flu-like" illness,
after which you have not since felt well.
    Low body temperature
    Allergies/Chemical sensitivities
    Increased effect from alcohol and possible worse hangover 

Below is a highly detailed printable symptom checklist that you can bring along with you to your next doctor's appointment if you think that you may have Lyme disease.