top of page

Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease

Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.

Facial Palsy Swollen Knee classic erythema migrans rash Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 Days After Tick Bite)

  • 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

    • Does not always appear as a “classic” erythema migrans rash

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

  • 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


Page last reviewed: January 15, 2021

32 views0 comments


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page