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Lyme Disease

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Signs and Symptoms

Lyme disease occurs in stages, starting with early localized Lyme disease and progressing to early disseminated and then to late Lyme disease.

Early signs and symptoms can develop from 3 to 30 days after the tick bite and may include:

Characteristic rash of Lyme disease

  • Rash at the site of the tick bite: one of first symptoms is usually a rash that appears a few days to a month after the bite. Up to 75% of those infected with Borrelia burgdorferi will develop the characteristic circular rash called erythema migrans. It typically spreads outward from the bite site and lasts for several weeks. The rash may reach several inches in diameter and begin to look like a "bulls-eye." Some people may develop multiple red rashes and others may not have, or remember having, a rash. Note that it is common to see a small bump or redness that develops soon after a tick bite that may look like a mosquito bite. However, this bump or redness generally goes away in one or two days and is not a sign of Lyme disease.
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If left untreated, additional signs and symptoms may emerge after several days to months after a tick bite, including:

  • Muscle and joint pain (may be intermittent)
  • Facial weakness and paralysis (Bell's palsy)
  • Numbness and pain in arms and legs
  • Neck stiffness and severe headaches (meningitis)
  • Chest pain and irregular heart beat (rare)
  • Eye irritation, redness, pain, and blurred vision (rare)
  • Intermittent arthritis with joint pain and swelling, especially in larger joints like the knees
  • Memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and changes in sleep patterns
  • Spells of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord

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