Lyme Disease Association of Australia

About Lyme disease

Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria (spirochete) that infects humans from the bite of ticks which are infected with the bacteria. Lyme Disease is called “The Great Imitator” because it can imitate many other diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease (ALS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Alzheimer’s Disease etc. Lyme Disease can affect any organ in the body including muscles & joints, the heart, gastro-intestinal system & neurological system (including the brain).

As well as giving people Lyme Disease, the ticks often also transmit other diseases (co-infections) such as Babesioisis, Bartonella, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, Rikettsia & Mycoplasma (to name a few).

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What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Lyme Disease is generally categorized into early stage and late (chronic) stages of disease, each with varying symptoms.

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Early stage Lyme diseaseLyme_Disease_Rash_Bullseye
  • Flu like symptoms such as headache, fever, muscle soreness & unexplained fatigue.
  • Fewer than 50% of people with Lyme Disease develop the “bulls-eye” (or Erthema Migrans) rash a few days or even a few weeks after their tick bite (if they remember the bite)

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Late (chronic) stage Lyme disease
  • Unexplained hair loss
  • Headache, mild or severe, Seizures
  • Pressure in head, white matter lesions in brain (MRI)
  • Facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy, Homer’s syndrome)
  • Tingling of nose, (tip of) tongue, cheek or facial flushing
  • Stiff or painful neck
  • Twitching of facial or other muscles
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Dental problems (unexplained)
  • Sore throat, clearing throat a lot, phlegm ( flem ), hoarseness, runny nose

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Eyes and vision:
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Increased floating spots
  • Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes
  • Oversensitivity to light
  • Flashing lights/Peripheral waves/phantom images in corner of eyes

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Ears and hearing:
  • Decreased hearing in one or both ears, plugged ears
  • Buzzing in ears
  • Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sounds
  • Ringing in one or both ears

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Digestive and excretory systems:
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Irritable bladder (trouble starting, stopping) or Interstitial cystitis
  • Upset stomach (nausea or pain) or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

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Musculoskeletal system:
  • Bone pain, joint pain or swelling, carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Stiffness of joints, back, neck, tennis elbow
  • Muscle pain or cramps (Fibromyalgia)
Respiratory and circulatory systems:
  • Shortness of breath, can’t get full/satisfying breath, cough
  • Chest pain or rib soreness
  • Night sweats or unexplained chills
  • Heart palpitations or extra beats
  • Endocarditis, Heart blockage

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Neurologic system:
  • Tremors or unexplained shaking
  • Burning or stabbing sensations in the body
  • Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, weakness, peripheral neuropathy or partial paralysis
  • Pressure in the head
  • Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks
  • Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
  • Increased motion sickness
  • Lightheadedness, wooziness
  • Seizures – often ‘atypical’

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Psychological well-being:
  • Mood swings, irritability, bi-polar disorder
  • Unusual depression
  • Disorientation (getting or feeling lost)
  • Feeling as if you are losing your mind
  • Over-emotional reactions, crying easily
  • Too much sleep, or insomnia
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Narcolepsy, sleep apnea
  • Panic attacks, anxiety

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Mental capability:
  • 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

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Reproduction and sexuality:
  • Loss of libido
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Unexplained menstral pain, irregularity
  • Unexplained breast pain, discharge
  • Testicular or pelvic pain

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General well-being:
  • Phantom smells
  • Unexplained weight gain, loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Swollen glands/lymph nodes
  • 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.
  • Low body temperature
  • Allergies/Chemical sensitivities
  • Increased effect from alcohol and possible worse hangover

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For further information see our FAQ page.

Thank you to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation for their list of symptoms.

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