A woman is urging people to check their bodies for ticks – after she caught a disease from one of the blood-sucking creatures.
Sue Pasfield, of Emms Lane, Brooks Green, said she caught Lyme Disease from a tick and wants to raise awareness for the disease.
“I’m really hoping that we can publicise the fact that there are ticks around and they do carry this disease,” she said.
“I was gardening or in the woods. I got a tick bite and three days later started to get the symptoms. The tick bites are tiny – mostly no bigger than a freckle.
“People are going around and walking their dogs. They crawl into your clothing. They can be on you for 36 hours.”
Ticks can transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease - which, without treatment with antibiotics can cause more serious conditions such as nerve damage and facial palsy.
Ticks are most active in spring and autumn.
Mrs Pasfield said her symptoms included chills and feeling like she had flu.
“About 50 per cent of people said they get a distinctive rash,” she added.
“The problem is, GPs aren’t very clued up about it and they have very mixed views. It is a very serious disease. It can be fatal and it is very debilitating.”
Ms Pasfield said she was talking to her neighbour, who said she caught the disease the previous year and had a rash.
“She developed the bulls eye rash but was cured almost immediately,” she said.
A spokesperson for Public Health England said: “As people and children in particular, are often bitten on the head, this is a very important area to check particularly behind the ears, at the hairline and on the neck.
“It is recommended that tweezers or a tick tool be used to remove ticks, as other methods may lead to infection.”
There are between 1,000 and 3,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in England each year and is most common in country areas.
If a tick is removed within 12 to 24 hours it will reduce the risk of being infected. While the majority of patients with confirmed Lyme disease respond to simple treatments, few have long lasting symptoms or disabilities.
A spokesman for Public Health England added: “Diagnosing Lyme disease is often difficult as many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions.
“Blood tests can be carried out to confirm the diagnosis after a few weeks, but these can be negative in the early stages of the infection and a person may need to be re-tested if Lyme disease is still suspected after a first negative test result.
“PHE is working with national and international partners to develop better diagnostic systems for Lyme disease, especially to identify patients with active disease, neurological disease and in early disease.”
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