Reviewing Lyme Disease pictures is a great way to help you figure out if you might have the most diagnostic symptom of LD, the infamous erythema migrans (EM) rash. And while we highly recommend the practice if you think you have EM, remember this: you can’t depend on photos alone for a positive diagnosis.

Lyme Disease Pictures

Lyme Disease Pictures Do Not Always Tell the Whole Story

Yes, they’re a good indicator, but you’ll need to see a doctor to confirm your suspicions — because sadly, as useful as they are, pictures can’t tell the whole story. There are several reasons for this, and in this article we’ll briefly explore them.


About 90% of the EM rashes you’ll see in photos will have the classic bull’s-eye: that is, a series of several red rings separated by normal skin. Usually this rash surrounds a tick bite location in the center, but this is not always the case. It’s possible for secondary rashes to develop away from the original bite.

The problem here is that EM doesn’t always appear as a bull’s-eye rash — though you’d hardly think so to look at most of the photos. So just looking at a few won’t do if your rash is atypical. You’ll have to really dig down and look at dozens or hundreds.

EM rashes can also present as blotchy, solid (that is, without rings), oval, linear, or irregular in shape. So a lack of rings isn’t enough to rule out EM and, thus, LD. Keep looking; you may find a morphology that fits yours among the LD rash pictures.

The Dark Skin Problem

When you look at EM rash photos, what do you see almost every time? Pale skin. It’s difficult to find EM pictures taken of patients with darker skin tones, mostly because EM is harder to diagnose in such individuals. You may miss it entirely, because it mimics bruising.

If your skin is darker than the Caucasian average, again, you’ll have to keep digging until you find images of darker-skinned individuals with EM so that you can compare. Don’t give up and blow off your rash as unimportant even if you can’t, though.

Mistaken Identity

Even if you have a rash with a ringed structure, you can’t assume you have LD. While it’s very rare for non-EM bull’s-eye rashes to occur, they’re possible. Spider bites, insect bites, and fungal attacks like ringworm can cause rashes similar to classic EM. You need to rule them out before you move forward.

The fact that EM can vary in shape makes the potential for mistaken identity even worse. Just because your non-ringed rash resembles a form that an EM rash takes in one or more of the pictures you’ve reviewed doesn’t mean you have LD, either.

Keep This In Mind

No matter what the outcome, you have to realize that EM rash images tell only part of the story. They’re an excellent diagnostic tool, but can’t diagnose LD alone. Add in the variability of the rash and the difficulty of finding EM rash pictures for people with dark skin, and their utility decreases.

A clear or suspected case of erythema migrans is a good reason to start LD treatment right away, but it can’t accurately diagnose LD alone. Your doctor will need to test you for the disease and look for other symptoms before they can confirm the diagnosis that your review of Lyme Disease pictures suggested.


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