Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

Symptoms of Lyme Disease - Topic Overview

The first symptom of Lyme disease in most people is an expanding red skin rash (called erythema migrans or an EM rash). In about a third of people, the rash looks like a bull's-eye, with a pale center area surrounded by a bright red rim. The rash is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue (the most common symptom).
  • Headache and stiff neck.
  • Fever (which may be high in children, but this is rare).
  • Muscle and joint pain.

About 20% of people have viruslike symptoms only (no rash) or have no symptoms at all.

Recommended Related to Arthritis

Assistive Devices: Living Better With Arthritis

Eyeglasses, bottle openers, pliers -- we use dozens of assistive devices every day; without them there's a lot we couldn't do. So when rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or another condition puts the brakes on what you do, why not expand your tool set to include a few helpful devices that make it easier to do the things you enjoy?

Read the Assistive Devices: Living Better With Arthritis article > >

If Lyme disease is not detected and treated while early symptoms are present, or if a person never has early symptoms that trigger the need for treatment, the infection may spread to the heart, the joints, the brain and spinal cord (nervous system), or sites on the skin.

Heart and nervous system problems may develop weeks to months after the initial infection, including:

  • Pain, weakness, or numbness in the arms or legs.
  • A gradual inability to control the muscles of one side of the face (paralysis of the facial nerves).
  • Irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath.
  • Severe headache and stiffness in the neck.

Damage to the joints, nerves, and brain may develop months to years after a person becomes infected, causing:

  • Swelling, pain, or redness in the joints.
  • Poor memory and reduced ability to concentrate.
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, or back.
  • Severe fatigue.
1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 21, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Symptoms of Lyme Disease Topics

Today on WebMD

Osteoarthritis Overview Slideshow
Slideshow
Sore feet with high heel shoes
SLIDESHOW
 
Knee exercises
Slideshow
Woman in gym
Slideshow
 
Woman shopping for vegetables
Slideshow
close up of man wearing dress shoes
Article
 
feet with gout
Quiz
WebMD iPad magazine, Jennifer Lopezz
NEW APP
 
salad
Video
Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
Slideshow
 
Woman massaging her neck
Quiz
Xray Rheumatoid Arthritis
Slideshow