Lyme disease is spread to humans by infected ticks. The most common place to get bitten is in areas with long grass that can conceal ticks, although another way you can be bitten is within your home if you’ve been outside with any pets that may have a tick attached to them. So how do you know if you’ve been bitten – what symptoms should you look out for? According to Dr Andrew Thornber, chief medical officer at Now Patient, there are certain areas you’re more likely to find ticks than others.
Ticks prefer warm, moist areas of the body
He explained: “Ticks prefer warm, moist areas of the body.
“Once a tick gets on your body, they’re likely to migrate to your armpits, groin or hair.”
There are physical symptoms you should also look out for if you’ve been bitten by an infected tick.
Dr Thornber said: “A tick bite does not always turn into Lyme disease, however you may have the condition if you experience flu-like – such as feeling hot and shivery, headaches, aching muscles or feeling sick – or a circular red rash.”
A tick bite can only cause Lyme disease in humans if the tick has already bitten an infected animal, but it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case says Dr Thornber.
He advised: “To remove a tick you should try to use a pair of find pointed tweezers then try to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
“You should then pull away from the skin at a steady pressure (do not yank or twist the tick.”
You should then book an appointment with your GP who may give you a blood test to see if it’s Lyme disease.
If it comes back positive, you may be prescribed antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
Dr Thornber said: “Lyme disease is easier to treat the earlier it is diagnosed, so if you do suspect you have been infected do not hesitate to speak to your GP.”
When it comes to preventing being bitten by a tick, there are two things you should consider.
Dr Thornber said: “The best way of preventing Lyme disease to prevent yourself from being bitten, this can be done in various ways.
“The first is to wear long clothes – trousers, especially when walking through grassy areas.
“The second is by wearing insect spray (ideally containing DEET).”
Bug bites can come in all shapes and sizes with there being a variety of different insects that bite from ticks to sand flies, but some bites may be more dangerous to a person’s health than others.
LloydsPharmacy’s Matt Courtney Smith offered his advise on which bugs to look out for while you travel and how to best treat any bites you do get.
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