Lyme Disease in the UK

Today I found an article about Lyme disease on the BBC news website. It's a timely one as Lyme disease is on the increase throughout the British Isles and is still not widely known about.

If you are an outdoor photographer living in the UK, you should be made aware of Lyme disease. It is a disease that is transferred by deer ticks and if it goes untreated, can be a debilitating and dangerous illness.

  • Ticks are active March to October, but they can be active on mild winter days
  • You will not feel the tick attach to you, so check your skin

In this BBC news article, the writer goes to great pains to explain that Lyme disease is on the increase and can be picked up in many places throughout the UK. The disease is transferred via deer ticks - if you get bitten by one and start to feel really poorly, then it is vital that you seek medical attention.

Here is an exerpt from

Initial symptoms differ from person to person, this makes Lyme disease very difficult to diagnose. Some people with Lyme disease may have no symptoms at all.

  1. There are three phases to Lyme disease: In the first phase, a red ring-shaped rash (called Erythema migrans) appears (in 35-50% of cases) within three weeks at the site of the bite. This rash slowly expands, then fades in the middle and finally disappears.
  2. During the second phase, flu-like symptoms appear: headache, exhaustion, pain in the arms and legs. These symptoms are self-limiting and will disappear on their own.
  3. During the last phase, often months after the bite, more serious and chronic symptoms will occur: joint pain, cardiac arrhythmia and nervous system disorders.

This disease isn't taken seriously enough by the medical profession, mostly I feel, due to a lack of understanding and a belief that it is not possible to get it in areas where you actually can. I've had direct experience of this myself because I was dismissed by a GP when I went to see him about a suspect bite that had now covered my entire leg. He couldn't believe that it may be possible to pick up Lyme disease in the countryside outside of Edinburgh. In the BBC news article, the writer describes a similar circumstance where his GP was doubtful that he could have picked up Lyme disease near London.

I think it is good practice to always check yourself over each time you have been outside during the tick season. Take note whether you get bitten and if you start to feel like you're coming down with the flu. The important thing to know about Lyme disease is to know what it is and what the typical symptoms are.

Further Reading:

BBC new article - I was floored by a Tick