You might consider a tick bite more a mild annoyance than anything life changing, however with 17% of ticks in the UK now thought to be carrying Lyme Disease, we’ve written this blog to help you brush up on the facts, on what to look for and how to avoid catching it!
Ticks infected with Borrelia Burgdorferi bacteria carry Lyme disease which can be hugely debilitating if not diagnosed and treated early on. In the UK alone, there are around 3,000 new cases of Lyme Disease each year, though many of these are caught while abroad in other European countries. Across the pond, the USA is also a hotspot, with around 30,000 new cases reported each year. Lyme Disease is present in nearly every state in America.
Symptoms of Lyme disease occur in stages, with initial tell-tale signs including a ‘bull’s eye’ shaped rash at the site of the tick bite (this occurs in around 1/3 of cases), you may feel flu like – with a high temperature or chills, stiffness, joint/muscle pain, or fatigue. In stage two – weeks or months after the tick bite, the infection can spread causing pain and swelling in joints. Stage three occurs if the disease has still not been treated, in these cases serious symptoms can develop and persist, and include muscle paralysis, memory and concentration problems, dizziness, heart burn, headaches, and stiff necks.
If you know you’ve been bitten and experience any of these symptoms you should see your GP straight away. There is no vaccine for Lyme Disease, only prevention. Lyme Disease needn’t put you off enjoying the great outdoors, there are a number of simple things you can do to keep safe and prevent tick bites.
- incognito insect repellent roll-on and spray have both been tested to provide 100% protection from tick bites in the UK and USA. Applying on all uncovered areas before going outdoors into tick populated areas e.g. woodlands, long grasses, moors etc. will stop ticks targeting you. You can use the spray on your clothes and dogs as well (they can catch Lyme disease too!)
- Avoid walking through long grass or through overgrown vegetation – particularly between March and October when ticks are at their most common. Instead, try to stick to footpaths.
- Rock the socks and sandals look! Covering up skin as much as possible will mean the ticks can’t latch onto you when you brush past them. Wearing trousers and tucking your socks into them will also help.
- Wear lighter colours to help you spot ticks on clothes.
After you’ve left a potential tick-infested area, remember to check yourself, children, and pets before returning indoors. If you find a tick – they need to be removed quickly and safely as if it does have Lyme disease, the earlier you remove it the lower your chances of catching it. Ticks must be removed correctly otherwise you risk leaving the head inside the skin which can still transmit Lyme. To do so, it is best to use a specialist tick remover like the one on our website – click here to get it.
Lizzy Greagg – incognito®