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Thursday 19 October 2017

Farmers warned not to take Lyme Disease lightly

Steven Meyen

Steven Meyen

"You need to highlight the very real danger of this serious disease," said a man to me one night in Buncrana, Co Donegal.

We were both at an 'Expand Your Horizons' evening seminar. This seminar was jointly organised by the National Rural Network (www.nationalruralnetwork.ie) and Teagasc.

The purpose of this nationwide series of seminars was to provide information on the range of services, funding and training opportunities available in rural Ireland and to give people the opportunity to make valuable contacts with various agencies.

He explained to me that he has been suffering from the symptoms of Lyme disease for several years now. It took a long time before the symptoms he was suffering from, were finally diagnosed correctly as Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the Borrelia bacteria and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks.

While working in your forest or on the farm, avoid bare skin by wearing long-sleeved trousers, shirts, socks and use a DEET-based insect repellent. Afterwards, check yourself over to see if you have been bitten by a tick. Areas such as armpits, groin, backs of the knees, etc. need careful attention!

If you have been bitten by a tick, record the date and location of the tick bite on your body as symptoms may not manifest themselves immediately. Carefully remove the tick using tweezers and disinfect the bite.

The most common symptom of infection is an expanding area of redness that begins at the site of a tick bite about a week after it has occurred.

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The rash is typically neither itchy nor painful. You may or may not develop a 'bull's eye rash'.

Other early symptoms include fever, headache and tiredness. If untreated, symptoms can progress to loss of the ability to move one or both sides of the face, joint pains and/or severe headaches with neck stiffness.

Avoid tick bites but if you are bitten, get it checked out by your GP. Also, if you have symptoms you can't explain, mention Lyme disease to your GP.

Don't assume it won't happen to you.


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