More recently, Lyme Disease is making the news, with more and more people being diagnosed with the illness. A number have celebrities and public figures who are living with Lyme Disease have also come out to raise awareness.
Former England rugby captain Matt Dawson had to have heart surgery after being bitten by a ticker in London. Speaking about the experience, he said it was quite a scary time, a tiny bite led to multiple heart operations and 18 months of treatment. Luckily, he’s now off the road of recovery and is free of the disease.
Other celebrities including Kelly Osbourne, Bella Hadid and Martine McCutcheon also suffer from the disease.
We’ve put together all the important information you need to know…
What is Lyme disease?
It’s a bacterial infection caused by tick bites, ticks carry a bacteria which is responsible for Lyme disease. Not to worry though as not all ticks carry the bacteria, so a tick bite won’t always result in catching the disease.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms include a headache, fatigue, fevers and a rash on the skin which is shaped like a bulls eye. Usually the rash may appear quickly, but sometimes it can take up to 30 days, it’s normally around 12 inches in diameter, so quite big. More severe symptoms are Bell’s Palsy (paralysis on one side of the face), pain and swelling of the joints and heart palpitations.
I am experiencing these symptoms, what should I do next?
It’s important that you seek medical advice immediately. The best treatment usually depends on the stage of your condition, but if it’s caught early, a course of antibiotics should clear it up in 2 to 4 weeks.
Where am I most at risk of catching Lyme disease?
Ticks tend to live in over grown areas or deep vegetation including parks and woodlands, so it’s best to stick to a footpath if you’re near long-grass. Make sure you use insect repellent and check your skin for ticks when you leave.
Should I be bitten, how should I remove the tick?
By using tweezers, grasp onto the tick as close to your skin surface as possible and pull it away, once the tick has been removed thoroughly wash the area where the tick bit you. Some advice has advised used Vaseline in the area or burning the tick off with a match, however we DO NOT recommend doing this, this can make things worse.
What happens if I don’t catch it early
If you have contracted Lyme disease, the infection will depend on a number of factors including whether or not you treated the condition early. If it’s caught early and treated, people usually take a course of antibiotics for between two to four weeks.
Having a blood test will determine if you have Lyme disease which a GP can carry out, in some cases it could take a few weeks to form in your blood and it may not be detected straight away. In this case, your GP would usually recommend a treatment based on the severity of your symptoms.
It’s important to seek treatment if you have a rash rather than wait for test results, as leaving it could lead to more severe symptoms.
Should you be experiencing any symptoms or require any further information about Lyme disease, please get in touch with our GP today.