Tick awareness: Lyme Disease prevention
I had a tick-bite last Saturday (from grassy woods in the Chilterns, Oxfordshire). As I developed the typical Lyme Disease rash (see photos below), I went to see my GP. I am now on antibiotics for 3 weeks and had to take a blood test and repeat it in 6 weeks. Some ticks – not all – can be carriers of Lyme disease, some can cause Meningitis and other severe illnesses. No need to panic - we still can enjoy the outdoors and infected ticks are still rather rare. However, Southern England is a tick hot spot by now, and ticks do move closer to urban areas (around London, there have been sightings in several parks and wooded areas, such as Richmond Park, Gunnersbury Park, Chiswick House, Boston Manor, Blondin Park etc.).
If you go to see your GP, make sure they are well informed (mine did not have any experience with ticks and gave me three pieces of wrong information: She said that there were no ticks in Southern England (wrong!), she said what I had was probably a mosquito bite (wrong! A mosquito bite would not create a rash like this). And she said that - as the rash was already getting better - I was going to be O.K. (wrong, the rash is just an initial indicator that usually goes away after a few days. What really counts; is your blood infected?).
So it is important being well informed and assertive, when you go to see a doctor.
Typical Lyme Disease rash
NOTE: You may have a tick-born disease / Lyme disease without this rash. It does not show in all cases. However; If you see it - you are likely to have Lyme disease (can be treated - see a doctor!)
Lyme Disease symptoms
Lyme disease can remain dormant for weeks, months or even years. When symptoms do eventually develop, they can be severe, and patients often need aggressive treatment. Intravenous treatment is often required to treat late-stage infection. Late-stage treatment can last many months as seen in other infections as well.
Tick in your skin: What to do
If you find a tick in your skin:
How to prevent tick bites
Tick Awareness Resources
NHS information on Lyme Disease and ticks
NHS information on TBE - another tick related disease: Not found in the UK yet, but in most of Europe and Asia. There is a vaccine for it if you travel/camp/hike in these areas.
On this site. You can download Leaflet, Posters, etc. for Tick awareness (for your school, scouts, walking group)
Online teaching resources for schools
Guardian article on tick bites: they point out here that not all Lyme Disease ticks create the typical rash)