Media Centre: Lyme disease symptoms

  • The first symptoms of acute infection with Lyme disease are often similar to a severe flu – fevers, night sweats, extreme tiredness, swollen glands, muscle and joint pain, nausea, a stiff neck and headaches.
  • A circular, reddish bull’s-eye rash (also known as erythema migrans) is diagnostic of Lyme disease. This means a blood test is not required if the rash is present and antibiotic treatment should be given without delay to maximise the chances of complete cure.
  • Not everyone with Lyme disease gets a bull’s-eye rash; the disease is usually invisible. NHS guidelines say a third of Lyme patients never have the rash, but specialist clinics in Europe and America claim that 90% of their patients never have the rash.
  • Some of the symptoms a person with Chronic Lyme Disease may experience include: Sensitivity to light, flashing lights, ringing in the ears/oversensitivity to sound, unexplained hair loss, facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy), jaw pain, swollen glands, memory loss, stammering speech, getting lost/not recognising familiar places or people, confusion, tremors or unexplained shaking, poor balance and dizziness, burning or stabbing sensations in the body, all over body pain, extreme pelvic pain (in females) unusual depression, too much sleep or insomnia, heart palpitations, chest pain or soreness of ribs, muscle pain or spasms, stiffness, digestive issues (which may resemble irritable bowel disease), nausea, motion sickness and many more.
  • If left untreated the disease can attack the whole body including the nervous system, the brain, the heart and the joints. According to the American Centre for Disease Control the most common cause of death from Lyme disease is cardiac arrest. It causes thyroid disease in 10% of people who have the disease and gallstones in many. It can also cause paralysis in some parts of the body, blindness or mental illness.
  • Lyme disease can mimic many different illnesses including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, autism (in young children), fibromyalgia and depression. More research is needed to determine whether a borrelia infection plays a role in causing these illnesses.
  • A considerable number of people can have Lyme disease for months or years with no symptoms at all (latent Lyme disease). The illness may suddenly flare up into a symptomatic illness when something else weakens the immune system, such as another bad illness, an injury or operation, or a stressful life event.

DISCLAIMER: Caudwell LymeCo charity shares public domain  information, which it believes to be reliable, in good faith. It should never replace the advice of a qualified physician with a license to practise medicine. If you believe any information on this website to be incorrect, you are invited to contact the charity using the Contact page.