Justin Bieber isn’t the most obvious person to get spoken about in this blog but his recent revelation that he is suffering from Lyme Disease sparked my curiosity as to what this condition involved and, as it transpires, it’s worth knowing about – especially if you enjoy activities out in the countryside or just find yourself roped in to that open country search for the MISPER on a hot afternoon. Read on!
Lyme Disease is a potentially serious bacterial infection which can develop after being bitten by an infected tick. These ticks can be found all over the UK but particular hotspots are the Scottish Highlands and those grassy and wooded areas in the south of England where we all like to go trekking in our shorts and bare arms, exposing all that lovely skin which ticks like attaching themselves to before sucking on our blood for a few days. Because not all tick bites are painful, you may not even notice that one’s attached to you until it’s pointed out.
The actual Lyme Disease infection tends to advertise its arrival with a red circular skin rash about the bite area; this will generally occur within a month of being bitten but can take anything up to three months to show itself. Sometimes the rash will have the appearance of a ‘bull’s eye’ with centre dot and outer circle; the rash might last several weeks. Some people don’t get the rash at all but may notice flu-like symptoms, headaches and fatigue.
Other people with Lyme Disease have delayed – but more severe – symptoms like heart and nerve problems, issues with memory and concentration, as well as pain and swelling in the joints.
Lyme Disease is treated with antibiotics – a long course of antibiotics, perhaps as long as 28 days – and, as with all antibiotic treatment, it’s important that you stick to the end of the course, even when you are starting to feel better, the symptoms disappear and you can’t be bothered to take the tablets.
On the upside, not all ticks are infectious with Lyme Disease but seek medical advice anyway if you discover any of the symptoms described above. Suddenly, wearing long walking trousers when you’re out trekking through those grassy meadows seems like a much better idea. If, though, you’re determined to get your knees brown, take a moment after your walk to check for any tick-like passengers who have joined you on route – it might save you a lot of discomfort later!
Before We Finish, What Do We Do If We Discover A Tick attached To Our Skin?
Hope that someone has a pair of fine-tipped tweezers …
The whole tweezer thing is important as, by simply flicking off the tick with your fingers in that satisfying way, there’s a good possibility that it will leave a bacterial-rich bit of itself stuck in your skin to cause infection mayhem later. Instead, use the tweezers to carefully, as close to the skin as possible, take hold of the tick and pull it upwards, being sure not to crush the little blighter as you do so … once it’s away from your skin you can be as vindictive as you like. Clean the bitten area with antiseptic and keep an eye on it for signs of problems over the next few weeks and months.