Spotting Lyme Disease: Early Warning Signs

Summer is one of the best seasons to get outside, soak up the sun and enjoy different outdoor activities. However, during this time, our bodies are at a greater risk to get certain infections. One of the infections that we need to watch out for is Lyme disease as it might lead to severe complications if left untreated. In this article, we’ll discuss the early warning signs of Lyme disease that you need to watch out for.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of bacteria that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. These bacteria are carried by the black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick. When an infected tick bites you, it can transfer bacteria under the skin, leading to infection. If diagnosed and treated early, many patients recover. However, if not diagnosed or treated early, Lyme disease can develop into a chronic illness that leads to long-term, serious health problems and reduced quality of life.

Stages of Lyme

There are two stages of Lyme disease:

Early-Stage Lyme Disease

In the early stages of, the illness may present as flu-like symptoms: fatigue, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain. A neurological symptom known as Bell’s palsy or facial drooping may occur in certain people.

Persistent, Chronic Lyme Disease

When a Lyme disease diagnosis is missed or delayed, the illness can progress to late-stage illness, in which ongoing, widespread, multi-systemic symptoms are present. As persistent or chronic Lyme disease arises, some of the symptoms of the early stage might remain. However, several new ones emerge because Lyme bacteria disseminates (spreads) through the body.

When symptoms resurface, they may affect a multitude of organ systems, joints, and tissues. Though it’s not always so clear-cut, symptoms may correspond to the body system that’s been impacted. For example, cognitive impairment, sleep problems, and mood changes like depression and anxiety could indicate brain and nervous system involvement. Shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or fluttering in the chest might suggest cardiac issues. Other affected systems include gastrointestinal, endocrine, musculoskeletal, reproductive, lymphatic, skin, and urinary.

What are the Warning Signs of Lyme Disease?

If you’ve been bitten by a tick, it’s important to be aware of the early warning signs of Lyme disease. The most common symptom is an expanding circular rash that may appear around the site of the bite. Other symptoms can include:


One of the earliest signs of this condition is a rash that may appear around three to 30 days after the tick bite. This rash is known as Erythema migrans and is typically the size of a pancake. The rash may have a bullseye appearance with a red area surrounded by a circle of redness. The rash can also be warm to the touch but is not usually painful or itchy.

Flu-like symptoms

Early-stage Lyme disease may resemble flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, fatigue, and muscle or joint aches. These symptoms might show up within the first few days or weeks after the tick bite and may last for a few days to a few weeks. These symptoms may also be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes.

Joint pain

Joint pain is commonly seen in Lyme disease patients. The pain may occur in one or more joints and may move from one joint to another. If left untreated, joint pain may become chronic and lead to joint damage.

Neurological problems

If this condition is left untreated, it may lead to neurological problems. These symptoms may include facial palsy, meningitis, and neuropathy. Patients may also experience dizziness, confusion or even seizures.

Heart palpitations

Although rare, Lyme disease may lead to heart complications. Lyme carditis is a condition where the tick-borne bacteria affects the heart leading to heart palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

It’s essential to be aware of the early warning signs of Lyme disease and to look for them during the summer months.

Treatment Options with Dr. Tara

Tick-borne infections can be hidden and hard to pin down on testing. Fortunately, we have access to advanced labs to detect these infections. Dr. Tara has extensive experience treating them. The symptoms can be varied and involve almost any system in the body. Functional medicine treatments for Lyme can include:

  • Supplementation with targeted vitamins and minerals to support the immune system
  • Detoxification protocols to reduce inflammation in the body
  • Diet modification strategies for symptom management
  • Stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises to lower cortisol levels

If you think you might have Lyme disease, don’t wait. Contact Dr. Tara today and get the help you need to start feeling better! 


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