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Lincoln teen gets Lyme disease from tick bite in city park

A Lincoln mum is warning city park-goers of the dangers of ticks after her teenage daughter contracted Lyme disease.

Charlotte Campion (16) was visiting Hartsholme Country Park in Lincoln on June 20 when she believes she was bitten by a tick.

A reddened shape, identified commonly as a ‘bullseye’ pattern, appeared in the days after the initial bite

Mum Helen Robinson said: “We thought it was a mosquito bite at first as it was just a red bump. People need to be aware and be able to recognise the symptoms and how quickly they need to act to seek medical help.

“The ‘bullseye’ effect didn’t happen until more than a week later.

Charlotte's 'Bullseye' mark didn't appear for some tome after being bitten.
Charlotte’s ‘Bullseye’ mark didn’t appear for some tome after being bitten.

“Charlotte was experiencing fatigue, lethargy and headaches. Her hand and wrist ached and were itchy.

“We first went to the walk in centre where they were clueless, and said it was just a reaction to a mosquito bite, but I’m a nurse and recognised the bullseye effect.

“I took her for a second opinion at the out of hours where a doctor confirmed as I had thought that it was Lyme disease and immediately prescribed her specific antibiotics.”

Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager at the City of Lincoln Council, said: “We are sorry to hear about the bite.

“We would like to reassure people, however, that the risk of being bitten by a tick is no greater at Hartsholme Country Park than any other park in the country. They live in places which tend to have long grassed areas.”

Lyme disease, which can carried by many different animals including mice, deer pheasants and insects, can be easily transferred to a human when a tick bites them and feeds on their blood.

Once infected, the bacteria moves slowly through your skin into the blood and lymphatic system.

Left untreated, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease can damage the joints and the nervous system.

PHD student Sophie Kellaway spoke to The Lincolnite about her experiences after contracting Lyme disease in 2011.

She said: “I was infected by June 2011 and diagnosed on June 2013, by which stage I’d been fully bedridden. I had to take 3 months off work and took 9 months of constant antibiotics to get the all clear.

“If you catch it in the first month your likely not to have a problem, 2 weeks of antibiotics and you’re fine. Doctors didn’t diagnose me until later, even when I had the bullseye rash.

“I woke up one day unable to stand and spent the next month sleeping 14 hours per day and getting lost when I ventured outside.

“It’s quite similar to chronic fatigue syndrome in the late stage – exhaustion, pain, brain fog, weakness. Apparently early on its just like cold/flu but I must’ve wrote that off as just a cold.”

NHS England say you can reduce the risks by:

  • being aware of ticks and the areas where they usually live
  • keeping to footpaths and avoiding long grass when out walking
  • wearing appropriate clothing in tick-infested areas (a long-sleeve shirt and trousers tucked into your socks)
  • wearing light-coloured fabrics that may help you spot a tick on your clothes
  • using insect repellents
  • inspecting your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds (armpits, groin, and waistband)
  • checking your children’s head and neck areas, including their scalp (skin on top of their head)
  • making sure that ticks are not brought home on your clothes
  • checking that pets do not bring ticks into your home in their fur