My name is Rosie Milsom and I’ve been the Fundraising & Communications Manager at Caudwell LymeCo since Nov 2018. I’m in charge of raising funds for the charity’s research projects and in forming partnerships, as well as managing all aspects of social media and communications.
Caudwell LymeCo’s vision is that all Lyme disease patients can be diagnosed, treated and cured on the NHS. Due to a lack of research into testing and treatment, this sadly doesn’t always happen. For some people, Lyme disease can be tricky to diagnose. Delays in treatment can cause life-changing symptoms. Every penny raised or donated to the charity goes directly towards life-changing research that will increase the accuracy of tests and help improve care for thousands of Lyme disease patients.
We also campaign to raise awareness, educate the public on tick bite prevention, and we run an information and advice service for patients.
Q1. ) Is Lyme disease a new problem, I wasn’t aware of it when I was a child?
Lyme disease was first officially diagnosed as a condition in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1975. There are some suggestions that it’s been around for many hundreds of years, but in relative terms, it’s still a relatively new disease. That may be part of the reason that there is such a lack of research and awareness on it.
Q2. ) What time of year are ticks found the most?
Ticks are active all year round, but peak tick season is May to October. Ticks prefer warm, humid weather, so it’s particularly good to be aware after summer rain.
Q3. ) Where do ticks most commonly live?
They are generally found in forests, long grass, fields and foliage, but they have also been found in town parks. We know of a number of people who were bitten in their back garden, so it’s worth being aware any time you spend outdoors.
Q4. ) Are there areas of the UK I am more likely to find ticks?
Ticks feed on animals such as deer, hedgehogs, field mice and, so there will be a higher population wherever there is a lot of animals. A higher number of cases of Lyme disease tend to be diagnosed in the South West, around the New Forest and in Scotland, probably because much of these areas are rural and therefore have a lot of ticks. But recent studies have shown that Lyme disease has been found in all areas of the UK, so again, it pays to be aware and protect yourselves from ticks wherever you are in the UK.
Q5. ) What can I do to protect my family?
One of the first tips we give is to tuck your clothes in, so that ticks are less able to crawl under and attach themselves to the skin. For this reason, the Kidunk clothing design is ideal. The elasticated cuffs around the wrists and ankles, as well as the protective waist zip, can act as a barrier to these ticks. Essentially eliminating the need to tuck clothes in, which is difficult with children! You should also spray insect repellent on any exposed skin.
If you’re heading out for a picnic, make sure you sit on a blanket rather than directly on the grass.
Check yourselves and your pets for ticks when you come inside, bearing in mind they can be as tiny as a poppy seed. They are often found in hairlines of children so good to check there.
You can also pop your clothes on a 30 min tumble dry spin or hot wash to kill off any ticks you may have bought inside on your clothing.
Q6.) what should I do if I find a tick attached to me or my child?
Remove a tick as soon as you spot one. Use a tick remover tool (you can buy one for a few pounds on Amazon), or some pointed tweezers. Get as close to the head as you can and pull directly up, trying not to squeeze the body. Disinfect the bite afterwards and wash your hands. Do not put any substance on the tick, such as oil, Vaseline etc. as this can aggravate it.
Keep an eye out for any symptoms similar to flu, and/or a flat, red rash that looks a little like a bull’s eye. If you or your child develops any of these, call your GP for an appointment as soon as you can. Treatment is a simple course of antibiotics. Call us if you have any questions or need any support!