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Be Informed With the Lyme Disease Rash Timeline: What You Need to Know

Written by Dr. Diane Mueller

Most commonly the rash from Lyme appears in 7-14 days. It may be as little as 1 day after infection or as long as 30 days. Most people if they are bit by a tick look out for the rash as a way of identifying if they have Lyme Disease or not. This is not the best way of determining this as Lyme Disease does not always lead to the development of a rash. Check out more information on the blog post, Lyme disease rash about the rash itself.

The Lyme Disease Rash Timeline

If you know you have had a tick bite, the best thing to do is to remove the tick and send it in for evaluation to see if the tick actually carries Lyme Disease. Ticknology is a company that offers this sort of evaluation. There are other companies on the market as well. If the tick carries Lyme Disease, then you will absolutely want to assume that you are infected. If the tick does not carry Lyme Disease, well then you are off the hook for this.

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Knowing the timeline of a Lyme disease rash can be a game-changer in catching the illness early. It’s not just about knowing what to look for, but also about understanding when and how it might show up. So buckle up, and let’s unravel the mystery of this classic symptom together!

Table of Contents

The Lyme Disease Rash Timeline: A Play-by-Play

Let’s break down the stages of the Lyme disease rash, known as Erythema migrans. It doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere!

Early Stage: Enter the Bull’s-Eye

A Lyme disease rash usually takes time to appear, typically within 7 to 14 days after infection. But it can show up as early as 1 day or as late as a whole month! Just because you got a tick bite doesn’t mean you’ll instantly see the rash. And get this – sometimes Lyme disease doesn’t even cause a rash at all. 

The Rash Grows and Grows

Once the Lyme disease rash makes its grand entrance, it starts to spread out from the tick bite spot. It can go from small red spots to a 12 inches wide! As it gets bigger, you might see that classic “bull’s-eye” pattern with a clear center. But not every rash looks like a dartboard, so don’t be fooled.

The Disappearing Act

Here’s the kicker – the Lyme rash can vanish, even without any treatment. But don’t let that trick you into thinking the Lyme disease is gone too. Without proper care, you could end up with some serious problems, like issues with your brain or heart. If you spot a Lyme disease rash, always get checked out by a doc.

Ticks and Other Tricks Up Their Sleeve 

Ticks are like walking Petri dishes – they can carry all sorts of nasty infections besides Lyme. So just because a tick doesn’t have Lyme doesn’t mean it’s harmless. There are cool companies out there like Ticknology that can test ticks for a whole bunch of diseases. And let’s be real, Lyme disease testing in humans could use some work. So if you get bit, it’s smart to go for the full tick check-up.

But before you rush off to the lab, make sure you remove the tick the right way. Grab some tweezers, latch onto the tick, give it a twist, and pull it out. Then, clean the spot with some Andrographis tincture or hydrogen peroxide if you’re in a pinch. But don’t stop there! While you wait for the tick test results, it’s a good idea to start some herbal treatments, like cat’s claw or Japanese knotweed. And make sure to team up with a Lyme-savvy doctor who can keep you in the loop with the latest research. Remember, the Lyme rash can show up anywhere from 1 to 30 days after the bite, so keep a close eye on your health during that time, even if you start the herbal stuff early.

If Bitten By Tick – Testing Tick that Bit You for Lyme 

To remove a tick properly use the following methodology: take a tweezers and hook as you twist and pull out.  Treat the area with a tincture of Andrographis. If you do not have this, hydrogen peroxide can work. Store the tick in a sealed container and order a tick test from a company like Ticknology (or you can use Tick Report which is another good tick testing company). While you are waiting to hear back from the company, you can begin herbal treatment with herbs such as cat’s claw and Japanese knotweed. Even better is to work with a Lyme Literate Doctor who can help educate and guide you according to the most up to date research.

Tick Bite Prevention: Dress for Success

To lower your risk of Lyme disease, spotting the rash early is great, but preventing tick bites in the first place is even better. Wear long sleeves and pants, and pick light colors so you can spot ticks easily. Tuck your pants into your socks to keep ticks from crawling up your legs. And don’t forget the EPA-approved bug spray with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Just follow the label instructions!

After your outdoor adventure, do a full-body tick check, especially in sneaky spots like under your arms, in and around your ears, inside your belly button, behind your knees, in your hair, between your legs, and around your waist. Hop in the shower within 2 hours of coming inside to wash off any ticks that haven’t latched on yet.

The Bottom Line

Knowing what the Erythema migrans rash looks like and when it might show up is a great start. But don’t be fooled if the rash goes away – that doesn’t mean the Lyme disease is gone too. Talk to a Lyme-literate doctor for guidance and stay on top of your health, especially in the month after a tick bite. 

And don’t forget, ticks can carry all sorts of nasty bugs besides Lyme leading to co-infections. So testing ticks for different diseases is super important. Prevention is also key – from dressing right and using bug spray to keeping your yard in check and using pesticides carefully, every little bit helps. 

If you do get bit, remove the tick properly and start some herbal treatments ASAP. Stay alert and stay safe out there!

At our medical clinic, most of the people that we find positive for Lyme Disease through testing do not remember a tick bit or ever having the classic Lyme Disease Rash. 

For more information on the topic of Lyme Disease Rash, see our other blog:


[1] Murray TS, Shapiro ED. Lyme disease. Clin Lab Med. 2010 Mar;30(1):311-28. doi: 10.1016/j.cll.2010.01.003. PMID: 20513553; PMCID: PMC3652387. 

[1] Skar GL, Simonsen KA. Lyme Disease. [Updated 2022 May 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:

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