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.
Symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease may present as a flu-like illness, including:
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
Insomnia or Poor Sleep
Joint Pain or Swelling
Tinnitus or Hearing Changes
Floaters or Vision Changes
Irrational Anger ("Lyme Rage")
Over-Sensitivity with Periods of Crying
Trouble with Word Recall
Chest Pain or Discomfort
Shortness of Breath ("Air Hunger")
Nerve Pain or Numbness
Burning Sensations in Extremities
Light, Sound, or Smell Sensitivity
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:
Fatigue/Excessive Sleepiness/Reduced Stamina
Headaches or Migraines
Emotional Changes/Mood Swings
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.
LymeDisease.org'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.