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Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School

For Those With Lyme Disease

You’re not alone. We have information and tools to help you better understand Lyme disease and take charge of your care.

You’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Perhaps you suspected when you noticed a bullseye rash after a recent hike. Or perhaps the diagnosis was a long time coming, finally providing an explanation for a variety of symptoms you’ve experienced for a while.

Either way, you want to know what to expect.

For many people with Lyme disease, a brief course of antibiotics is all you’ll need to recover and move along. For some, however, Lyme disease symptoms may progress or linger. What symptoms might you experience? And how can you manage them? We’ll provide information, tools, and resources to help you handle whatever comes your way.

Experiencing symptomsWhat do Lyme disease symptoms feel like?

If you have Lyme disease, you probably want to understand how possible symptoms may affect you. Whether it's a rash, fatigue, brain fog, or something else, we'll let you know what to expect.

But before you dive in, you should be reassured that although there are many common symptoms of Lyme disease, most people do not experience all of them. 

Learn more

Managing symptomsHow can I manage my Lyme disease symptoms?

Symptom management techniques range from things you can do on your own, such as eating well, practicing mind-body therapies, and getting adequate rest, to medications that require a doctor’s prescription.

We'll discuss a variety of techniques that might help. It may take some trial and error to figure out what strategies will be useful for you. What benefits one person with Lyme disease might not be good for another, and what does not work for one person might help you.

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"You need to find a practitioner that you have good communication with, who you feel has your best interests at heart, and will genuinely listen to your questions and concerns.”

Lyme Disease Patient Experience Survey Respondent

Female, 43, Pearl River, NY

take chargeKeep a symptom diary

Tell your doctor about any new symptoms you experience. It may be helpful to keep a daily journal of your symptoms.

A symptom diary can help you keep track of your symptoms, including their frequency, duration, and intensity, and can also help you and your doctor identify patterns and possible triggers.

Download a printable daily symptom diary. (PDF 134.98 kB)

symptom management strategiesKeep track of what works and what doesn't

A number of strategies are aimed at helping you feel better. Though they do not treat Lyme disease, they can help you manage your symptoms, from fatigue and brain fog to pain and sensory sensitivities.

It may take trial and error — and time — to find the approaches that help you. A weekly journal can help you track what you try and how it makes you feel.

Download a printable symptom management journal. (PDF 256.14 kB)

Take time to preparePreparing for a doctor's visit can improve doctor-patient communication

Before a first appointment, prepare a brief summary of your illness to share with your new doctor.

You can include information such as when you were diagnosed with Lyme disease, what symptoms you've experienced, what treatments you've tried and how they've worked, as well as your current medications, family history, and other medical conditions or past procedures.

Download a printable first appointment form. (PDF 44.13 kB)


Common Symptoms

Common symptoms of Lyme disease can run the gamut from rash and fever to fatigue, joint pain, and trouble concentrating.

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Less common and rare symptoms

Less common symptoms such as cough, constipation, or visual disturbances may be associated with Lyme disease, but may also suggest other medical conditions.

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Changing symptoms

You might have good days and bad days. You might notice different symptoms on different days, or the same symptoms could be more or less severe from one day to the next.

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