For more details check out https://ticktalkireland.wordpress.com/may-event/
Our aim is to raise awareness of Lyme Disease in Ireland so that members of the public including pet owners, parents, athletes, campers, outdoor workers & others can protect themselves from infection and recognise early symptoms to enable sufficient treatment.
The earlier Lyme is treated the better the prognosis!
Lyme Disease can present in a number of ways ranging from a rash known as Erythema Migrans (an expanding rash typically from the site of the bite that at times can resemble the appearance of a bulls-eye ring). If anyone sees an expanding rash (usually not itchy), particularly one that resembles a bulls-eye then seek medical help straight away even if no other symptoms are present, as this is the stage where effective treatment can take place. Often at this stage a Lyme test is negative as antibodies have not sufficiently developed so treatment is needed, before waiting for positive test results.
Please note that not everyone sees or even has this rash so vigilance is needed following a tick bite for other symptoms. Other symptoms may include summertime flu, joint pain & muscle aches. Bell’s Palsy (paralysis of the face) may present itself & in some serious cases meningitis (swelling of the brain) may occur.
In a proportion of patients the early stages of illness may be missed & the patient can develop ‘late stage’ Lyme Disease which typically results in an ME type illness such as profound fatigue, sleep & memory problems, body aches & pains & severe headaches. Cardiac & optic problems can also result from a Lyme infection as well as neurological problems including tingling, numbness & nerve pain.
When out in the country remember to do tick checks on yourself, your pets & family members. Ticks can be very small – nymph ticks are only 1.5mm & can be easily missed. If a tick is not embedded there is very little chance of infection. An embedded tick (one that has latched on to feed) can potentially transmit diseases including Lyme Disease with the chances of infection increasing the longer it is attached. Prompt removal of the offending tick is paramount to minimise risk of transmission.
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease – studies from Prof Gray in the 90’s cite tick infection rates from 11-28% from endemic areas such as Wicklow, Kerry & Galway.
What do I do if I’m bitten?
If a tick is attached remove gently with fine tipped tweezers very close to the skin (to ensure the tick body is not squeezed causing a high risk of infection). Other tools such as tick twisters can be very efficient at removing ticks.
If the tick is engorged (a tick will typically expand 2-3 times it’s size as it feeds) then place the tick in a zip-lock bag & go immediately to the doctor for a precautionary course of antibiotics. If the tick is attached but not engorged, remove the tick & place in a zip-lock bag, mark the date of the tick bite & watch closely for any unusual symptoms such as a rash or flu-type symptoms.
To learn more on symptoms, blood tests, & tick removal visit our site at: http://www.ticktalkireland.org/
Tick in Time Saves Lyme!