Lyme disease is called “The Great Imitator” for its known ability to mimic other diseases and disorders in its symptom manifestation.

It’s for this reason that misdiagnosis is a common occurrence and patients often go years before being properly treated for Lyme disease. If you suspect Lyme disease, speak with your physician or a Lyme-Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD) about your symptoms and possible treatment options.

Below are some of the more common symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Early-Stage Symptoms

Symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease may present as a flu-like illness, including:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Sweats

  • Muscle Aches

  • Joint Pain

  • Fatigue

Less common: Bell’s Palsy (facial drooping) and Erythema Migrans (EM) or bulls-eye rash

If left untreated, Lyme disease may progress to late-stage or chronic Lyme disease, affecting multiple body systems and organs with an increase in severity of symptoms. The following is not an exhaustive list; however, they are the more common symptoms of late-stage or chronic Lyme disease and its co-infections:

General Physical Symptoms
Severe Fatigue
Insomnia or Poor Sleep

Joint Pain or Swelling
Persistent Headache
Tinnitus or Hearing Changes
Floaters or Vision Changes

Psychological Symptoms
Irrational Anger ("Lyme Rage")
Over-Sensitivity with Periods of Crying


Mood Swings

Cognitive Symptoms
Brain Fog
Trouble Focusing
Poor Concentration

Poor Memory

Trouble with Word Recall
Learning Impairments

Cardiovascular Symptoms
Heart Palpitations
Chest Pain or Discomfort
Shortness of Breath ("Air Hunger")

Neurological Symptoms
Nerve Pain or Numbness
Burning Sensations in Extremities

Balance Disturbances

Poor Coordination
Muscle Weakness
Light, Sound, or Smell Sensitivity

Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Bowel Changes
Abdominal Pain

Children are at increased-risk for Lyme disease due to their proximity to the ground and their penchant for outdoor play. Following the initial flu-like symptoms, Lyme disease in children may manifest as the following:

  • Juvenile Arthritis

  • Fatigue/Excessive Sleepiness/Reduced Stamina

  • Headaches or Migraines

  • Learning Impairments

  • Emotional Changes/Mood Swings

  • Social Changes

Children may also present with the same symptoms as adult patients. For more information on children and Lyme disease, including additional pediatric Lyme resources, please visit the Patient Portal.

For information about symptoms relating specifically to pets:

The Case for Chronic Lyme

Learn more about the controversy surrounding Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment. Read our essay, "The Case for Chronic Lyme" on the Being LymeBrave blog. Coming soon!

ILADS has compiled a collection of over 700 articles citing evidence of chronic infection in Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.'s revolutionary Lyme Disease Symptom Checklist allows you to select the symptoms that apply to you. When completed, you'll receive a downloadable summary to bring to your primary care physician.

Late-Stage Symptoms
Children & Lyme
Crisis Lifeline

Lyme patients are at-risk of suicide due to the accompanying decrease in quality of life. If you or someone you love is suffering from depression or suicidal ideation, contact your physician immediately or call the
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline




LymeBrave Foundation, Inc. is an education and support services 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by patients, for patients. The material found herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the medical services or advice of professionals. While we aim to provide emotional support resources to patients and caregivers, LymeBrave Foundation, Inc. makes no representation of warranties with respect to the context of the information herein. LymeBrave Foundation, Inc. is not liable for any damages, including the health and wellbeing of individuals, arising herefrom. LymeBrave Foundation, Inc. is not responsible for third-party content, nor does it recommend or endorse third-party content.

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