Last week God was smiling down on me – a man came into my surgery asking for my help, it turned out he actually helped me so very much!
The man came in to talk about awareness of Lyme Disease and the UK’s approach to chronic Lyme Disease. Like most people, I knew very little about the disease and after the meeting I researched it. I had never thought about the bite that I had on my arm – I’d had it for a week and I presumed it was just a bit infected – I figured I would try to make time to get medical advice the following week if it got no better. However, the next day I woke up with the typical Lyme ‘bulls eye rash’ – a large red semi-circle with a clear ring and then the bite – it was over half the size of my upper arm. I recognised it from the images that I had researched.
The rash can go down after a few days and I know if I had not researched it I would have left it to the following week given my busy diary and not wanting to let people down. If it had gone I probably would have just presumed that it was better. That could have been very dangerous so my constituent really did help me so very much. I did have some of the other symptoms including neck ache, nausea and very fatigued. I went to Bath RUH A&E and was given antibiotics and have a repeat blood test in 6 weeks.
Serious problems arise when the disease is not spotted early and I am now committed to helping others and raising awareness of this dangerous disease. Untreated, Lyme Disease can cause long-term joint inflammation (Lyme arthritis) and heart problems, brain and nervous system damage as well as other issues.
My doctor at Rowden Surgery has been excellent with advice, but people need to know what to look for in the first place. Cases in the UK quadrupled from 2001-2011 and Wiltshire is one of the highest risk areas in the UK. You can get bitten in the woods, on walks, parks and even your own garden. We are all at risk and need to be more aware. In fact, 1 in 3 people do not get the rash so wearing bug spray, reducing risks, watching out for bites and recognising the other symptoms are all essential, especially in our county.
I am being treated and just feel exhausted, but also so very fortunate and blessed. I would like to thank my constituent again for raising my awareness and pledge to do the same for other local people.
I am submitting for a debate in Parliament and did this interview on BBC Wiltshire today: https://audioboom.com/…/4793104-speaking-to-bbc-wiltshire-a…
For more information this is the NHS site