I was at the doctor’s for the results of a routine blood test. I have some autoimmune issues and take medication for it. So, I need to make sure that my liver and kidney functions are okay every few months.
I was chatting with the doc who told me everything was fine and was about to leave when I said ‘Oh by the way, does this bite look normal?’
This was one week exactly since I woke up with a bite on my arm. I don’t get bites. No mozzies ever come near me. Poor Tahlulah gets them. It seemed different to those ones though. Whatever got me, had also left a red outer circle and a nice bruise. Bullseye!
The doc’s face changed. ‘When did you get this?, When were you in a forest? You were hiking right?’
No, I wasn’t and then it dawned on me. ‘That’s not a mosquito bite.’ He quickly browsed his NHS reference sites.
‘Are you thinking it’s a tick bite?’, I asked. ‘Yup’, he nodded.
He showed me pictures from the NHS site of tick bites and lyme disease. ‘Yours looks like that.’
Lyme Disease Symptoms
The first sign that you’ve been bitten by an infected tick is this bullseye bite. But, it only shows in about 50% of cases. In my case, I am so lucky. I had been feeling shite for the while. I put it down to missing or forgetting to take my own medication. With what I have anyway, when I’m not feeling well, I get really tired, exhausted and fatigued doing nothing. I get aches and pains in my muscles. I also get a really annoying brain fog which is really frustrating. But since I started the medication almost seven years ago, I haven’t been as fatigued and drained as I once was.
These can also be symptoms of Lyme Disease. If I hadn’t to have the bullseye bite, I would be going back to my consultant saying my drugs weren’t working. I didn’t feel a bite, I didn’t see anything on my skin.
I live in a leafy area. There’s a row of trees across from us, there are several parks within a 10 minute walk. Our house cat, Norman, is just that. A house cat. The last time I was in the park was about 2 months ago, the Sunday that England were playing in the world cup. I took this picture that day.
This horrible bite with it’s bruise appeared on my left arm, not on my ankle or leg. I wasn’t even getting close to the squirrels. If this happened last winter, I would have blamed one of the squirrels I used to go feed. Even then I tried to make sure they didn’t touch me. One guy pulled my jeans one day looking for berries.
The Rise of Lyme Disease
Tick bites and Lyme Disease are on the rise in the UK and in Ireland. Only a bite from an infected tick is dangerous. Basically what happens is that they go off, bite an infected animal, take some of their gunk and then bite you. Lovely.
Make sure you know what to look for and if you’re in doubt, get yourself to a doctor. You will need to get on antibiotics as soon as possible. If it’s untreated, you can end up with long term side effects.
I’m allergic to penicillin which can make antibiotics a bit of a nightmare. I’ve just finished my course of medication. Doxycycline. 2 x 100mg twice a day for three weeks. 84 tablets in total. These things are sickly, absolutely horrible things but they have to be strong to work.
I’m hoping this will be enough. I’m hoping I won’t need a second round of antibiotics. I’m still feeling crap and extremely fatigued but I’m hoping that this is just getting over the antibiotics.
This isn’t a ‘Woe is me’ post, this is ‘If your not feeling right or you’ve had a bite, go get yourself sorted’ post. It was only when I saw the expression on the Doc’s face that I realised that tick bites aren’t to be messed with. There are now somewhere between 2000 – 3000 cases in the UK every year, but doctors don’t have to report how many cases they see in their surgery.
Every time this post shows up in a google search or someone shares, it will raise awareness.