What Are the First Signs of Lyme Disease?

The first sign of Lyme disease is a rash, Erythema migrans, that forms within 30 days of being bitten by a deer tick. The rash resembles a bullseye and can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. It usually does not cause local pain or irritation, states the Mayo Clinic.

Along with the rash, the individual often experiences flu-like symptoms. These include headaches, muscle aches, fever and stiffness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

As the disease progresses, headaches and muscle aches become severe and the joints begin to swell. When the disease affects the nervous system, nerve pain and brain tissue inflammation occurs, resulting in extremity numbness and short-term memory loss, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.