What happens if Lyme disease goes untreated?
Lyme disease that is left untreated can result in a wide range of symptoms depending on the stage of the infection. Some of the symptoms include:
- Facial paralysis
Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 days after tick bite):
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle and joint aches
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash
The rash usually occurs in about 70-80% of infected people. It begins at the location of the tick bite after a delay of about three to 30 days (average is around 7 days). It spreads gradually within a few days, reaching up to 12 inches or more. Though the rash is rarely painful or itchy, it will likely be warm to the touch. Sometimes the rash clears as it spreads. This can result in a target or “bulls-eye” appearance. The rash can also appear on any area of the body.
Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months following tick bite):
- Severe neck stiffness and headaches
- Arthritis with swelling and severe joint pain
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Facial palsy
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme carditis)
- Problems with short-term memory
- Shooting pains, tingling, or numbness in the feet or hands
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- Episodes of dizziness
- Nerve pain
It is recommended to seek medical attention if any of the above symptoms were observed and you have been bitten by a tick.