What is Lyme disease?

Photo of a deer in woodland
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What causes Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection which can be spread by the bite of an infected tick. Ticks are small, blood-sucking bugs with eight legs. They can be as small as a pin’s head or up to the size of a pencil rubber. They transmit diseases, such as Lyme Disease by feeding on animals, including us! Infected ticks are now found throughout the UK.

Lyme Disease is a very serious condition which affects the nervous system. Although 3000 new cases are reported every year in England and Wales, experts believe the real number of cases are much higher. This is because Lyme disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose and often gets confused with other chronic illnesses.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread through the bite of an infected tick. It is a very serious condition which affects the nervous system

This is a photo of a Ixodes ricinus tick which poses the most threat to people.
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What does Lyme Disease do to the body?

If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated quickly, there’s a risk of developing serious long-term health problems including:

  • meningitis
  • swelling of the joints
  • memory loss
  • face paralysis
  • numbness or limb pains
  • eye and heart problems.

Lyme disease is associated with a red ‘bulls-eye’ rash around the site of the bite but it’s important to know that not all cases of Lyme disease develop a rash. Many people diagnosed with Lyme disease don’t remember having a rash or a tick bite.

Evidence suggests that the chances of Lyme Disease being transmitted increases the longer a tick is attached, so quick and correct removal of ticks is essential. Eyebrow tweezers (and other old wives’ tales, like using a match!) can make the tick burrow further down into the skin.

Our shop sells O’TOM tick twisters which are the removers recommended by Lyme disease charities and used by vets. They are reusable and include 2 sizes so you can remove any size tick. You can buy them here.

“Infected ticks thrive in any area where there is dense ground vegetation, like woodlands but can also be found in urban parks”

A photo of woods
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Do I need to go to the doctor for a tick bite?

Public Health England lists symptoms of Lyme disease as one or more of the following:

  • Flu-like symptoms (tiredness, muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, high temperature, chills, neck stiffness)
  • Paralysis of facial muscles
  • Nerve pains, which may be sharp or prickly
  • Circular ‘bulls-eye’ rash around the tick bite around 3-30 days after bite.

The NHS recommends that you contact your GP or dial 111 if you feel unwell after being bitten by a tick, even when you don’t have a rash. Remember to tell your GP that you have been bitten by a tick or have recently spent time outdoors and are worried it might be an infected tick bite.

If you do notice a rash, draw around the rash with a pen to monitor any changes and take photos to show your GP or hospital.

Getting diagnosed and treated quickly can help to avoid the worst effects but prevention is always better than a cure. Be sure to have a bottle of our naturally derived tick repellent to hand for those outdoor activities and follow our ‘top tick tips’. For all the latest information and tips, sign up to our newsletter here

Although Lyme disease is associated with a ‘bulls-eye’ rash, it’s important to remember that not all cases of Lyme disease present this trademark rash.

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Celebrities with Lyme Disease

Matt Dawson, the former England rugby player was infected with Lyme disease after a visit to Richmond Park. He needed multiple heart operations and is still on medication.

The 2020 AIG Women’s Open winner, Sophia Popov, is a long term sufferer of Lyme disease. It took approximately 20 doctors’ visits over a period of 3 years to get a diagnosis.

Model and fitness guru, Nell McAndrew, contracted Lyme disease after exercising in her local park in London 2016. After developing the trade-mark rash, she received prompt treatment and made a full recovery.

Actress and singer, Martine McCutcheon, has had a long battle with Lyme disease after being diagnosed in 2006.

US comedian, Amy Schumer and Canadian singer, Justin Bieber, have also announced that they contracted Lyme disease. They join actors, Alec Baldwin and Ben Stiller and singers, Avril Lavigne and Shania Twain who are long-term suffers of the disease.

“It is really important that pet owners understand how they can treat their pets for ticks and reduce the risk of the further spread of these horrible, debilitating and potentially dangerous diseases to the UK”

Chris Packham, TV presenter and naturalist
Ticks lurk in grass and vegetation and latch onto pets who carry ticks back into the family home.
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Going outdoors. Think tick prevention. Think Botanic Protect.

Botanic Protect are not medical professionals and do not provide medical advice or medical products.  The Botanic Protect website does not replace professional medical advice and Botanic Protect Ltd is not responsible for any omissions, errors or for any loss or damage resulting from information published on this website. Botanic Protect Ltd is not responsible for the content of external links shared on this website. You can read more here.