• By Amanda Blackburn.

Lyme Disease In Coventry!

During a recent conversation with my friend who is a nurse, she was telling me that there have been a few cases of Lyme disease in Coventry recently. I had no clue what Lyme disease was and my friend explained it to me. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that occurs when an infected black-legged tick attaches to and bites a host, passing on the bacteria. Ticks don't jump or fly but can climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they're on. They then bite the skin and start to feed on your blood and you're more likely to become infected if the tick remains attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. But ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin. A small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, so being bitten doesn't mean you'll definitely be infected. However, it's important to be aware of the risk and seek medical advice if you start to feel unwell.

A tick must be removed as soon as possible to prevent the transmission of bacteria by using fine-tipped tweezers and gripping it as close to the skin as possible pulling it away from the skin without twisting or crushing the tick. Make sure to wash the area with antibacterial soap after removing the tick and killing it once it is out. Apply antiseptic cream to the area and don't forget to wash your hands.

Symptoms of infection are;-

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Red, expanding bulls-eye rash

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Muscle and joint aches

There are currently no vaccines to get rid of ticks!

Here are some things to do to help keep safe and avoid ticks:-

  • Check all your pets daily and make sure you use tick collars or spot treatment

  • Try and avoid moist, wooded or grassy areas where ticks like to live.

  • Repel ticks with bug spray and insect repellent.

  • check your children's head, scalp, hair and neck area if you suspect they may have been near ticks.

  • Try and keep your pets away from tick-infested areas.

  • If you go in moist, wooded grassy areas keep your body covered well , long sleeves and socks tucked into trousers etc.

  • Stay on the paths and don't go through long grass.

Many people with early-stage Lyme disease may develop a circular rash, usually around three to 30 days after being bitten. The rash is often described as looking like a bull's-eye on a dart board, differs in size and may get bigger over time. The affected area of skin will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised. Some people may get more than one rash and others might have the symptoms without any rash. The best thing to do if you are worried is to go and speak to your doctor and get it checked out. If you develop symptoms of Lyme disease, you will normally be given a course of antibiotic's. Most people will require a two or a four-week course, depending on the stage of the condition.Lyme's disease was named after the town of Old Lyme in Connecticut where it was first discovered in 1975.