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Lyme Disease Symptoms You Need To Check For As Cases Surge In England

New data from the UK Health Security Agency UKHSA has shown that in England, there were 882 cases of Lyme disease between April and September in 2023, compared to just 635 the previous year during that same period.

However, the UKHSA believes that the actual number of cases is higher, saying: “The number of laboratory-confirmed cases presented in this report is likely an underestimate of the true burden of acute Lyme disease in England.”

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks and spotting the signs earlier can make it easier to treat, according to the NHS.


The signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease to look for 

An oval or circular rash

The NHS urges people to check for a circular or oval shaped rash around a tick bite. This can appear up to three months after the bite but usually appears within 1-4 weeks and can last for several weeks.

It can also have a darker or lighter area near the centre and may gradually spread. It’ll likely not be warm or itchy and it may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.


Flu-like symptoms

Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:

  • a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery

  • headache

  • muscle and joint pain

  • tiredness and loss of energy


Joint pain, nerve, heart and memory problems

Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later. These can include:

  • pain and swelling in joints

  • nerve problems – such as pain or numbness

  • heart problems

  • trouble with memory or concentration


How to remove a tick safely

The risk of getting unwell from a tick is low but it’s still essential to remove ticks if you spot them. The NHS recommends the following steps for removing a tick:

To remove a tick safely:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool. You can buy these from some pharmacies, vets and pet shops

  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible

  • Slowly pull upwards, taking care not to squeeze or crush the tick. Dispose of it when you have removed it

  • Clean the bite with antiseptic or soap and water

If you have been bitten and aren’t experiencing any discomfort or sickness, it’s still vital to inform your GP.


Source: Sarah-Louise Kelly, Yahoo News UK


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