Ticks and Lyme disease - what to look out for

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread between humans by tiny insects called ticks, with around 2,000 to 3,000 new cases emerging in England and Wales each year.

Although the disease can be treated very effectively if diagnosed early on, there can be long-lasting and serious consequences if it is not picked up on until later stages.

Some people who get lyme disease get a circular rash. Credit: NHS England

Some people who have contracted Lyme Disease develop a circular rash around the tick bite between three and 30 days after being bitten. It is usually about 15cm across and the edges may feel slightly raised.

However, bear in mind that one in three of those with the disease do not develop this rash.

Other symptoms include:

  • Tiredness

  • Muscle and joint pain

  • Headaches

  • Fever/ high temperature

  • Chills and neck stiffness

Later signs:

Failure to diagnose and treat the disease can lead to more serious symptoms further down the line.

  • Painful and swelling joints

  • Problems affecting the nervous system

  • Heart problems - including heart failure

  • Inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord - this can be shown by increased sensitivity to light

The NHS recommends that you see your GP if you develop any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick, or if you think you may have been bitten.

Remember to inform your GP if you've spent time in woodland or heath areas where ticks are known to live.