HSE issue advice for protection against Lyme Disease

People who take part in outdoor activities are being reminded to protect themselves against Lyme Disease.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre is issuing the advice about the infection which is spread by tick bites.

Although most cases are very mild, in a small number it can be more severe, leading to serious nervous system, heart and joint disease.

Specialist in Public Health Medicine at the HPSC Dr. Paul McKeown says we need to beware of ticks.

He said: "We want to raise awareness amongst people as to how they can prevent Lyme Disease and the most important lesson is to prevent being bitten by ticks.

"Ticks carry Lyme Disease and if you prevent yourself and your family being bitten by ticks you will completely prevent the possibility of Lyme Disease."

Tick bites can be prevented by:

  • Wearing long trousers, long sleeved shirt and shoes
  • Wearing a hat and tuck in hair
  • Wearing a hat and tuck in hair
  • Using an insect repellent (preferably containing DEET)
  • Checking skin, hair and warm skin folds (especially the neck and scalp of children) for ticks, after a day out
  • Removing any ticks and consulting with a GP if symptoms develop

Specialist in Public Health Medicine Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), Dr Paul McKeown said

“Only a minority of ticks carry infection. If a tick is removed within the first few hours, the risk of infection is low. The entire tick, including any mouthparts which might break off, should be removed with a tweezers by gripping it close to the skin. The skin where the tick was found should then be washed with soap and water and the area checked over the next few weeks for swelling or redness. Anyone who develops a rash or other symptoms should visit their GP and explain that they have been bitten by a tick. You can see instructions on how to remove a tick


Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the HSE and HSPC to reclassify Lyme Disease from a skin disease to a multi-organ inflammatory disorder or autoimmune disorder which she said "sufferers feel is a far more accurate description of the condition".

- Digital Desk

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