The bullseye rash for Lyme Disease is also known as erythema migrans. The bullseye rash can be one of the first signs of Lyme Disease because within one to two weeks of the tick bite the rash will appear. It is important to note that up to 30 days after the bite, the rash can develop.
The rash will look similar to a bullseye, with a center spot of redness surrounded by a ring of rash. The rash does not typically create pain or itching, but it can be warm to the touch. In people with darker skin tones it may look more like a bruise.
This rash is the source of some mythology in relation to its size and location in patients with Lyme Disease. Such misinformation can result in misdiagnosis.
Bullseye Rash Facts
The following are a few of the myths regarding the bullseye rash, followed by the facts:
MYTH: The bullseye rash will only be about the size of a quarter.
FACT: The rash may vary in appearance, including the size of it.
MYTH: If you really have Lyme Disease, you will get a rash.
FACT: There is no evidence to support this. Some patients with Lyme Disease do not get any rash at all. According to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, in only about 30 percent of cases does the bullseye rash appear.
MYTH: The rash will appear at the site of the bite.
FACT: The bullseye rash may appear in several locations on the body at the same time. The rash does not always appear at the location of the bite.
The treatment of bullseye rash for Lyme Disease is included in the treatment of Lyme Disease, which is antibiotics given for two to four weeks.
Because there is no surefire way to prevent getting Lyme Disease, there is no surefire way to prevent getting the rash that may accompany it. Adhering to the tips given to those going into high-risk areas is the best way to increase the odds of avoidance. These tips include:
- Use a 20 to 30 percent DEET-containing insect repellent on your clothing and exposed skin, according to product directions.
- Wear enclosed boots or shoes, pants with the legs tucked in and long-sleeved shirts or jackets.
- Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks that may be on you more easily.
- Check for ticks regularly. Be sure to wash your hair and clothes thoroughly once you leave the area.
- Don’t sit on the ground outside.
- Be aware of the places ticks like most: moist and shady ground, tall grass and brush, low tree branches and shrubs. Any place that is near such sites can harbor ticks, as well.
- Places with deer and mice – the hosts of ticks that carry Lyme Disease – can be risky, too. Please note that the ticks that carry Lyme Disease can live on any animal with fur, so pets that go into risky areas can have infected ticks on them.
Bullseye Rash Image
Bullseye rash image by James Gathany/CDC. #9875. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Erythema_migrans_-_erythematous_rash_in_Lyme_disease_-_PHIL_9875.jpg
Erythema Migrans. Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation. https://www.canlyme.com/rash.html
Infections: Lyme Disease. Reviewed by Stephen C. Eppes, MD. April 2009. https://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/lyme.html