Ticks that carry the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease are found throughout the UK and catching the disease is more common than most think. The ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that are found in woodland and heath areas. They feed on the blood of birds and mammals, including humans. People who spend time in woodland areas in the UK and take part in outdoor activities, like hiking and camping are most at risk.
One of the major warning signs of the disease is neck stiffness. It is estimated that 30 per cent of new cases of the disease described this sensation that turned out be Lyme disease.
Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Centre said: “This may or may not be associated with flu-like symptoms within days to a month after the tick bite and could include ashiness, chills, fever, sweats, fatigue, malaise, headache, muscle soreness, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and sore throat.
Other symptoms to look out for
Most early symptoms of Lyme disease include fatigue, fever, chills, headaches, and joint and muscle aches similar to numerous other conditions.
Perhaps the most distinguishing early sign of Lyme disease is the big red rash which is about two inches or more in diameter.
This might develop at the tick bite site three to 30 days after the occurrence. Normally the rash is visible within seven days and may look like a target or bullseye.
However, not everyone with Lyme disease gets a rash, and some people who get the rash might not notice if it is located out of sight, such as on the back.
Dr Hilary added: “If you see the tick on your skin you must remove it as soon as possible and get it under it’s mouth and gently remove.
“You must be careful when doing this as you could leave part of it’s mouth still embedded in your skin.
“You should check your pets and children for any ticks too.”