Lyme Disease Symptom List

The following symptom list is abbreviated and based on 1990 - 2005 knowledge. All symptom combinations vary greatly from person to person. In February 2012, Dr. James Schaller has recently published a complete resource manual "What You May Not Know About Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases" (800 pages of up-to-date information and the source material) that includes more comprehensive symptom lists for Lyme, Bartonella and Babesia.  See Dr. Schaller's Resource Book. Check table of contents for symptom lists. Or get Dr. Horowitz's new book for a wonderful symptom point system for Lyme MSIDS.

The hallmark of Lyme disease is for symptoms to mysteriously appear and then disappear weeks later, or for pain to move around the body. It is important to note that you can be infected for years without becoming disabled due to the morphologic nature of the bacteria. In other words, the disease can lie dormant in your body for months or years, taking over when you are worn down physically or if your immune system is suddenly (or gradually) compromised. If you have symptoms in two or more bodily systems, you should consult a "Lyme-literate" doctor.

Watch "Faces of Lyme" to see if any of these stories resonate with your symptoms.

Have you had any of the following?

The Tick Bite

  • Tick bite (deer, dog, or other) 
  • Rash at site of tick bite 
  • Rashes on other parts of your body 
  • Rash (basically circular - called "bulls-eye" rash) and spreading out 
  • Raised rash, disappearing and returning 

Head, Face, Neck

  • Unexplained hair loss   
  • Headache, mild or severe  
  • Twitching of facial or other muscles  
  • Facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy) 
  • Tingling of nose, cheek, or face  
  • Stiff or painful neck, creaks and cracks  
  • Jaw pain or stiffness 
  • Sore throat  

Eyes/ Vision

  • Double or blurry vision 
  • Increased floating spots 
  • Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes 
  • Oversensitivity to light 
  • Flashing lights 
  • Ears/Hearing  
  • Decreased hearing in one or both ears 
  • Buzzing in ears 
  • Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sound 
  • Ringing in one or both ears 

Digestive and Excretory Systems

  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation  
  • Irritable bladder (trouble starting, stopping) 
  • Upset stomach (nausea or pain) 

Musculoskeletal System

  • Any joint pain or swelling 
  • Stiffness of joints, back, neck 
  • Muscle pain or cramps 

Respiratory and Circulatory Systems

  • Shortness of breath, cough 
  • Chest pain or rib soreness 
  • Night sweats or unexplained chills 
  • Heart palpitations or extra beats 
  • Heart blockage 

Neurological System

  • Tremors or unexplained shaking 
  • Burning or stabbing sensations in the body 
  • Weakness or partial paralysis 
  • Pressure in the head 
  • Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks 
  • Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking 
  • Increased motion sickness 
  • Lightheadedness, wooziness 

Psychological Well-being

  • Mood swings, irritability 
  • Unusual depression 
  • Disorientation (getting or feeling lost) 
  • Feeling as if you are losing your mind 
  • Overemotional reactions, crying easily 
  • Too much sleep or insomnia 
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep 

Mental Capacity

  • Memory loss (short or long term) 
  • Confusion, difficulty in thinking 
  • Difficulty with concentration or reading  
  • Going to the wrong place 
  • Speech difficulty (slurred or slow) 
  • Stammering speech 
  • Forgetting how to perform simple tasks 

Reproduction and Sexuality

  • Loss of sex drive 
  • Sexual dysfunction 

Females only:

  • Unexplained menstrual pain, irregularity 
  • Unexplained breast pain, discharge 
  • Pelvic pain 

General Well Being

  • Unexplained weight gain or loss 
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Swollen glands 
  • Unexplained fevers (high- or low-grade) 
  • Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc.) 
  • Symptoms seem to change, come and go 
  • Pain migrates (moves) to different body parts 
  • Early on, experienced a flu-like illness, after which you have not since felt well 

This list was compiled by Denise Lang, author of “Coping with Lyme Disease” but is by no means conclusive.  If you suspect you have Lyme disease, visit www to find a Lyme-literate” doctor in your area. 


Jenna Seaver author of lyme disease resource

Jenna in Maui


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