Ticks and Lyme Disease – What You Need to Know

Skin Rash From Tick Bite
Lyme Disease is caused by ticks. You can get a tick bite from being in the garden or in the countryside. Find out from our latest article on how to remove a tick and reduce your risk of a tick bite.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. You can get Lyme Disease if a tick bites you. Not all ticks are carriers of the bacteria that cause Lyme Disease. But it is better to be aware and learn how to remove a tick from your skin.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. There are various strains of the bacteria. It is one of the most common tick-borne infectious diseases in the UK. It is also prevalent in Europe and the rest of the Northern hemisphere.   

How Do You Catch Lyme Disease?

You catch Lyme disease if the tick that bites you carries spirochete bacteria.  The Lyme Disease UK website compares the size of a tick to a poppy seed. If you buy bread covered in poppy seeds each one is around the size of a tick. It’s tiny size makes ticks very hard to spot.

If you regularly take walks in the countryside, especially in grassy or wooded areas, you are more at risk of a tick bite.  But ticks are also found in parks and gardens and are more active during the spring and summer months.

What are the symptoms?

One in three people bitten by an infected tick will come out in a rash at the bite area. 

It looks like ringworm or cellulitis. These are both common skin infections caused by bacteria.  The fact that the rash can look like something else may lead to a misdiagnosis.

Usually, the rash will be round with a red circle on the outside. It looks like a target, or it will just be a large round rash that feels slightly raised at the edges.

If you have been in a grassy or wooded area and you have a rash, tell your doctor so that they are aware you may have a tick bite.

Another symptom of Lyme disease is feeling like you have caught flu. You may feel hot, but shivery with a headache and aching muscles. Over time you may develop chronic fatigue.

If Lyme disease isn’t treated it can lead to a whole host of problems. You might end up with long-term complications.  

Lyme disease is often difficult to diagnose because it imitates other illnesses. You symptoms may look like depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and ME. 

How Do You Remove a Tick?

If you see a tick on your skin remove it as soon as possible. You can buy a tick removal tool from your pharmacy, or you can use a pair of tweezers.

Get hold of the tick with the tweezers or the tick-removal tool. Get as close to the skin as you can and then slowly pull the tick upwards taking care not to squeeze or crush it.

Dispose of the tick and then clean the bite with soap and water or some antiseptic cream.

A rash may develop between 1 and 4 weeks after a tick bite, although sometimes it can be as long as 3 months afterwards.  Not everyone with a tick bite will get a rash.

How is Lyme Disease Treated?

If you have a rash, it is likely that your doctor will give you a blood test. If it is negative but your symptoms continue you will have to do another blood test at another point in time.

Your GP may also prescribe antibiotics. You may need to take the medication for up to 28 days. Many people tend to feel better after they have taken a course of antibiotics.

Can I avoid tick bites?

When you go for a walk tuck your trousers into your socks and cover your arms and any other parts of your body. Another way to avoid tick bites is to spray insect repellent on your skin and clothes. Choose a repellent that contains DEET. Wear clothes in light colours so you can see a tick if it lands on you.

How Can My Pharmacy Help?

If you have a rash which might be from a tick you need to see a doctor.

Your pharmacy can help you. VSM Pharmacy staff can recommend the right insect repellent, antiseptic cream, and painkillers if you need them.




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