How can I protect myself against Lyme disease?

rsh mar experts Lyme

rsh mar experts Lyme - Credit: Archant

Expert advice on protecting yourself against Lyme disease, and what to do if you get bitten by a tick!

rsh mar experts Lyme

rsh mar experts Lyme - Credit: Archant

Q: Does tick-proof clothing work? If not, what other precautions should I take? I am worried about the possibility of contracting Lyme after reading Tim Pilbeam’s recent articles.

Dom Holtam replies: Greater awareness of Lyme can only be a good thing, but don’t let it make you fearful of pursuing your hobbies.

Scientific evidence suggests that tick-proof clothing can be very effective at keeping these wee beasties off you. However, there is always a risk if you shed layers in warm weather, or when gralloching, that you will be exposed to risk. You may wish to buy and carry a tick removal tool (they are only a few quid) to ensure that if you do find a tick latched on you can remove it safely.

The other thing is to ensure that you check yourself thoroughly after stalking (or spending time in the countryside). The NHS website ( contains the following information:

* Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a circular red skin rash around a tick bite.

* The rash can appear up to three months after being bitten by a tick and usually lasts for several weeks. Most rashes appear within four weeks.

* Not everyone with Lyme disease gets the bulls-eye rash. Some people also have flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as:

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- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery

- headaches

- muscle and joint pain

- tiredness and loss of energy

See a GP if:

* you’ve been bitten by a tick or visited an area in the past month where infected ticks are found

and you get:

- flu-like symptoms, such as feeling hot and shivery, headaches, aching muscles or feeling sick, or

- a circular red rash

Tell your GP if you have been spending time in forested or grassy areas.