Reported cases of Lyme disease are on the increase in the UK & Ireland and left untreated it can develop serious complications, so recognising the symptoms and early treatment are important.
Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia bacteria and is transmitted through tick bites. Lyme disease is endemic in many parts of the United Kingdom and Ireland, particularly in woodland or heath-land areas but disease carrying ticks can also be found in cities and gardens.
Symptoms often start with a rash, which is often described as a ‘bulls-eye’, though sometimes it can be irregular looking, not a perfect circle. The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by a tick and usually lasts for several weeks. Most rashes appear within the first 4 weeks.
The symptoms of Lyme disease can include tiredness, flu-like symptoms, aches, light and noise sensitivity, cogntitive problems, a stiff neck, facial palsy (drooping), numbness and tingling, Left untreated, the infection can spread anywhere in the body leading to around 70 recognised symptoms.
If caught early the disease should be easy to treat, enabling you to return to full health. The chances are, the longer an infection is left untreated, the harder it will be to combat. A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms – like tiredness, aches and loss of energy – that can last for years.
Treatment is a course of antibiotics, so if you have any of the above symptoms you should visit your GP as soon as you can.
Prevention is always better than cure, so if you’re visiting the countryside, particularly woodland or heath-land areas then use a recognised insect repellant, preferably one containing DEET. If you’re sensitive to DEET then Lyme Disease UK recommend Mosi-Guard Natural.
More information on Lyme disease can be found on the NHS and Lyme Disease UK websites.
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