Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms of Lyme Disease may present as:

  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and joint pain).
  • Headaches or stiff neck
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Poor memory or inability to concentrate
  • Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis).
  • Rash shaped like a bull’s-eye is considered characteristic of Lyme disease, but many people develop a different kind of Lyme rash or none at all. Estimates of patients who develop a Lyme rash vary widely, ranging from about 30% to 80%.
  • Heart palpitations

Call your doctor

  • If you develop flu-like symptoms-fatigue, fever, aches, joint pain or a rash. (A fever or flu in the summer is likely to be a sign of a vector borne illness.) 
  • If a tick has been attached for more than 24 hours (transmission time is debatable, use your best judgment) 
  • If you are not able to remove a tick. If you feel you doctor is not listening to you, find another doctor. Be your own advocate!


Lyme disease is diagnosed based on:

  • Signs and symptoms
  • A history of possible exposure to infected blacklegged ticks

Testing for Lyme

The tests for Lyme disease are unreliable; one reason for this is that most people do not develop the antibody response that the test measures for 3-4 weeks after being bitten. Not having an accurate test is one of the reasons Lyme can be difficult to diagnose. 

If you feel you doctor is not listening to you or is not knowledgeable about tick-borne diseases, find another doctor. Be your own advocate!

More Information on Lyme Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptom Check List

Prevalence of Rashes with Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Co-Infections

Information about Diagnosis & Testing