Lyme 101: Symptoms

The clinical symptoms of Lyme disease vary among individuals at initial presentation and during the course of an infection, ranging from a relatively benign skin rash to severe arthritic and neurological symptoms. Lyme disease is called “the great masquerader” because of its ability to mimic other illnesses. Early in the infection patients may have flu-like symptoms including headache, stiff neck, fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. Serious multi-systemic problems may start later. Late symptoms include: neurologic problems, dizziness, memory and concentration impairment, muscle weakness, joint pain and swelling, mood disorders, and heart disease. Symptoms may develop quickly or not until many months or years later as the spirochete can evade the immune response and remain dormant in the host for long periods of time.


Joint pain and/or swelling
Stiffness of joints, back, neck
Muscle pain, cramps
Headache, persistent and severe
Jaw pain


Twitching of facial or other muscles
Numbness and tingling
Weakness or partial paralysis
Light-headedness or dizziness
Poor balance, difficulty walking
Burning and stabbing pains
Restless legs
Memory loss (short or long term)
Confusion (difficulty with thinking)
Speech difficulty (slurred or slow, word finding)
Seizures/stroke symptoms
Blurry or double vision, sight change
Sensitivity to light and flashing lights
Sound sensitivity
Tinnitus (ringing)


Mood swings, irritability
Unusual depression
Panic/anxiety attacks
Obsessive-compulsive behavior
Suicidal thoughts


Recurring bronchial infections
Shortness of breath
Chest pain/rib soreness
Heart palpitations, murmurs, valve prolapse, heart attack


Insomnia or sleeping too much
Night sweats or chills
Swollen/painful lymph glands
Chemical sensitivity/increased allergic reactions
Sore throat
Weight gain/loss
Skin changes/nodules under the skin, dryness

National Capital Lyme Disease Association (NATCAPLYME)


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